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NEWS | Dec. 16, 2008

Integrity in the Air Force

By Airman 1st Class Josemari T. Feliciano 1st Fighter Wing Legal Office

Integrity is the heart and the very essence of serving in the profession of arms, but more importantly, it is the foundation on which our mission is built upon on. Integrity must be the standard instilled within the innermost heart of every Airman so we could continue to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace.

It is integrity that bonds each airman so tightly together that when faced with any circumstance, each individual can trust his fellow Airmen to meet the needs of the moment. Integrity comes from within each man's heart and is revealed through his or her respect for the standards of conduct. As Airmen, it is our duty and responsibility to maintain the highest degree of integrity while serving our country in the United States Air Force.

When I hear of the word integrity, I think of my job as a paralegal. As a paralegal, I have been taught the importance of making sure that I do the tasks assigned to me properly since the product that I produce, ranging from a power of attorney for a deploying Airman to a memorandum for a commander regarding a court-martial, affects someone's life. 

There is not always someone looking over my shoulder to make sure that I do my job properly, nor should there need to be. It is only my personal integrity that guarantees I will accomplish an assigned task properly. 

I say all of this to illustrate the importance of integrity. Every Airman is entrusted with responsibilities that are vital for the successful completion of our mission. No matter how big or small the task we are entrusted with, one mistake could severely affect the lives of our fellow Airmen. 

We are faced with important decisions every day of our lives. It is vital that we evaluate every detail of every situation before we make a decision. I have learned that rushing myself in that process usually results in poor judgment. When I rush to accomplish a job, I lose sight of both what is important and the possible consequences of my actions. 

The focus becomes only getting the job done by any means possible. I see that the time I saved was not worth the compromise of my integrity. Trying to rush my work can actually cost my fellow Airmen and I more time and effort than if I had done it properly the first time, not to mention the consequences of my actions if something had gone wrong.

As Airmen in the United States Air Force, we must adhere to the core values of integrity to maintain the military standards of good order and discipline. We need to be committed to our responsibilities and duties as we obey the orders given to us. 

I believe we must focus on being consistent in word and deed to maintain our integrity. It is our duty to set the standard for integrity as a member of the United States Air Force. I do realize that we are not perfect and will make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes and the mistakes of others that we can learn and grow as an Air Force.