An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Commentaries : Display
NEWS | July 17, 2013

Our standard: dignity, respect, fairness

By Col. Darren Hartford 437th Airlift Wing commander

As we enjoy the summer heat and return to work from the recent Fourth of July holiday, I know some of you were able to spend some well-deserved time off relaxing with family and friends. For those of you who were called to duty during the holiday, either here at home and overseas, I thank you for your service and I thank your families for their support. Whether you were enjoying time off, or busy executing the mission, I hope you took a moment to reflect on what it means to serve this great country we are so blessed to live in.

Our country expects a great deal from those of us who serve. I am very proud of how you meet and exceed those expectations in all you do. For those of you in the 437th AW, that is by executing our mission of "safely providing precise, reliable airlift worldwide" day in and day out. Whatever your unit's mission is, in addition to performing that mission safely, every single one of us also needs to perform our mission with the utmost professionalism. As professional Airmen, we must maintain a standard of dignity, respect and fairness, and do so both on and off duty. By not doing so, we risk betraying ourselves and the country which depends on us for their safety and freedom.

If you've followed any of our Air Force senior leadership's messages over the past few weeks, you know how committed they are to ensuring an Air Force culture that accommodates this standard. Lt. Gen. Darren McDew, our 18th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt.Victoria Gamble, 18th Air Force command chief, recently made a video about their perspective on standards in the Air Force. I encourage you to view the full video on the 437th Airlift Wing Facebook page, but in the meantime, please read an important quote from Lt. Gen. McDew:

"As Airmen, our country holds us to a higher standard. Operational and moral excellence, and the demands that come with it, are a part of our very own DNA. It is what makes us who we are: American Airmen. By maintaining standards in the performance of our duties, professional relationships and our obligations to family and friends, we continue to strengthen the culture of excellence our nation demands of us."

Chief Master Sgt .Gamble, goes on to ask all of us to "ensure you and your fellow Airmen maintain our standards of conduct, performance, and discipline. Our customs and courtesies are a reflection of our professionalism, and more importantly, our respect for each other, the oaths we've taken, and our core values demand that we treat others with respect, dignity, and fairness."

From the time you raised you right hand to join this great Air Force, to arriving here at Joint Base Charleston and perhaps the "Airlift Wing of Choice," (and whatever time you've served in between) most of you have embraced the high standard which Lt. Gen. McDew and Chief Master Sgt. Gamble mention.

For those of you who participated in the Department of Defense mandated down-day for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training, I know the message your commanders presented was one which emphasized that same standard of respect, dignity, and fairness as well as the trust that behavior builds.

Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff, recently mentioned that in regards to sexual assault, "every Airman is either part of the solution or part of the problem." In this moment of reflection, I ask each and every one of you to look in the mirror and ask yourself, "Am I doing everything I can to be a part of the solution?" We owe this to our fellow wingmen, to the Air Force, and to the country.

I am proud to serve alongside the great Americans and great Airmen who make up Joint Base Charleston. I appreciate what each and every one of you does for our country every day. Thank you for your service, and thank-you for doing so with dignity, respect, and fairness. Have a great Air Force Day!