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NEWS | April 22, 2014

Respect: give it to get it

By Chief Master Sgt. Gigi Manning 315th Airlift Wing command chief

"Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners." - Laurence Sterne

An Airman stopped by my office today to chat for a few minutes in between appointments. During the course of the conversation, I realized that she was rather upset about an incident that had happened earlier that morning.

She had been in the base computer center and was taking a test for an upcoming job opportunity. During her testing period, another Airman entered the room and began talking on the cell phone. Mind you, there is signage that specifically states cell phone use is not permitted in this area.

The Airman is politely asked several times to please take the conversation outside as people are testing. Long story short, the Airman did not leave, continued to talk on the phone and would not leave until the civilian in charge of the center came and asked the Airman to leave. When the Airman was asked for their name and squadron, the Airman refused and became belligerent with the staff about not providing the information. Everyone was in civilian attire.

I tell this story simply because regardless of where you are, everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. I don't know if the lack of a uniform made a difference or not, because it shouldn't have. We all have bad days and this could have been one for this individual, but as military members, 'calm under fire' should be our "modus operandi" at all times. Take five seconds to breathe and consider your response before your actions create a situation that you later regret.

As military members, common courtesy should be ingrained into our life fabric just like the core values. We are always 'on' whether you accept that fact or not. Simply, if you're walking through the mall in civilian clothes and make a ruckus, people will just think you're ill-mannered and shake their heads. If these same people realized you were a military member, the reaction would probably be the same with the added thought process of 'what's becoming of our military?' and not in a positive way.

Agreed, the military is a product of society and not everyone is brought up the same, but when you raised your right hand, you immediately became judged at a higher standard. Is this the type of behavior by which you want our profession to be judged?

I'm not sure how this situation is going to pan out, but today's episode will have ramifications. One thing is for certain, the senior non commissioned officer in charge will be talking to the Airman's supervisor.

Whether you're on the base or out in the community, mutual respect should always be accorded. As Laurence Sterne says, 'respect guides our morals and manners.'