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NEWS | Oct. 14, 2008

What does loyalty mean to you?

By Senior Master Sgt. Rob Frank 437th Aerial Port Squadron first sergeant

What do you think about when you hear the word loyalty? Character is what makes great Airmen and an important aspect of that is loyalty. Do you practice loyalty in all areas of your career and life? To help you do your best, I would like to give you a few things to think about when it comes to building your character.

Loyalty is simply defined as "unswerving allegiance" in the Merriam Webster Dictionary. I think we would all agree Airmen are loyal to our country and would go into battle if ordered to defend this great nation. However, loyalty extends beyond basic patriotism.

Are you loyal to your boss? When given a task, you should do your best to meet expectations, and always support the decisions of those you work for even if you don't agree. There is a line and loyalty stops when those decisions are illegal, so you must know when to approach the chain of command. But loyalty doesn't end here and there are many others areas where loyalty is important.

Are you loyal to your coworkers, customers, fellow Airmen and, most importantly, your wingman? I hope you are the first to step up and help a coworker with a tough job and you address your customer's needs with passion and a smile on your face. Sitting back waiting for someone else to help or doing a half-hearted job could be detrimental to the work environment, especially with our reduced manning and high deployment tempo.

When you are out and about on base, there are many opportunities to help out or you could simply provide a word of encouragement on the running track. When your wingman calls for some help, are you there for them every step of the way?

Loyalty has many applications in our workforce, but there are other areas of importance.

What are your priorities in life? We often put "mission first" in our mindset, and our mission is paramount, but I believe a balance is important. With that, are you loyal to your faith, family, neighbors and community? Everyone is different, but these areas need loyalty like our job in the Air Force. If you invest regular time with your walk in faith, spend quality moments with your family, lend a hand to your neighbors and spend a few hours in community service; you may very well find the balance to be an effective Airman.

I place my loyalty with God, my family, my boss, the Airmen in my squadron, my fellow shirts as well as my Air Force and local community. I find making these priorities and being resolute to all of them helps me to be successful in my journey. If you haven't thought about where your loyalties lie, or maybe haven't been as constant as you should be, I hope you take some time to reflect and see where you can strengthen your character.