Who am I to say what's right or wrong?|
Posted 1/18/2012 Updated 1/25/2012
Commentary by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Foster
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
1/18/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- I'm a military broadcaster and my job is to know everything I can about military broadcasting.
I'm supposed to work hard and continually strive to become better at what I do. I would never expect a medical technician to know how to conduct an interview or shoot footage correctly and you certainly wouldn't want me to draw your blood.
So who am I to say what's right or wrong?
I'm not a law enforcement officer. I'm not a judge.
I'm just a technical sergeant in the Air Force.
In basic training I didn't learn the Air Force Instruction (AFI) that governs every specific career field. That would be time consuming and unnecessary. I did, however, learn some fundamental policies, instructions and standards.
One of those instructions was dress and appearance.
I was educated on the right and wrong way to wear the uniform and learned what was allowed with hair, nails, jewelry and so on.
I was also taught to correct those who didn't comply with the standards.
So I guess, in a way, I am someone to say what's right and wrong.
I mentioned that I'm a military broadcaster, but my uniform doesn't indicate anywhere that I'm a broadcaster. It does, however, say U.S. Air Force.
To me, that means I'm in the Air Force first.
It means I'm responsible to the Air Force and those people I work with to be fully committed every day.
Are the Airmen walking down the street with their hands in their pockets or wearing their hair in a "rooster tail" fully committed to the Air Force?
Maybe they are. But disregarding simple rules can take away some of their credibility.
So why is it that some Airmen who put the uniform on every day, the same people who are willing to die for their country, are unwilling to follow the simplest of instructions?
Yes, AFI 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel, is about presenting a positive military image, professionalism and being uniform with our fellow airmen. But it's also about the details.
There's a reason we're taught attention to detail; a very simple reason why it's pushed on us constantly in training. I need to know the guy next to me is on the same wavelength. I need to know that we're in it together and that neither of us take the details lightly. You take the details lightly in the military and unthinkable things can happen.
Nobody is expected to know everything about a subject but if you're unsure if the new hairstyle you want is allowed, then check the AFI. It's not locked away in a secret vault. Everybody is allowed to read it. It's your responsibility to read it.
If you see someone doing something wrong, correct them. That's also your responsibility. If you're the Airman that gets corrected, simply thank the person for telling you and correct it immediately.
Why are most people afraid to correct someone? Is it because we're afraid that confrontation will upset them, or that they'll question our knowledge? When we don't confront an Airman with a uniform discrepancy, we are as wrong as they are. The violator never learns from their mistake and the witness never learns to hold people accountable for their actions.
It can be tough correcting people and most people don't take kindly to it, no matter how gracious you are. They think you must not have better things to do than go around correcting people or you're just throwing your rank around.
Trust me. I have much better things to do. I should be the one upset that you've now taken time away from me doing the things I could be doing.
What worries me the most is that it's not our young Airmen making these mistakes. It's every rank and every position. It's our leaders and the ones that we look up to.
I agree that painting your nails fire engine red, wearing your beanie inside the commissary or not tucking in your PT shirt will probably not get anyone hurt or killed.
But if I had a choice, I would prefer to go to combat with someone that can follow the rules.