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Promoting highest ethical standards

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience, but how he stands in times of controversy and challenge.”

Daily we make decisions that challenge us to distinguish right from wrong. The great majority of these decision points are clear and uncomplicated, while others involve a great degree of soul-searching.

The Air Force’s mission demands Airmen apply the highest degree of ethics or our mission effectiveness will degrade. Gen. (ret.) John Jumper, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force, continually stressed a person creates a new lower standard when they walk past a problem and don’t actively address the situation.

Leaders, peers and subordinates expect nothing more than an honest attempt to do the right thing, to make the right call during moments of controversy and challenge. An Airman’s duties are too important to do otherwise. Missions can only be performed by professionals who possess the highest ethical standards. It’s those standards that ensure Airmen do their duty even when times get tough.

Airmen serve as “trusted agents” of the American public and as such are challenged to apply the highest level of ethical behavior in the performance of daily tasks and duties. Behaving ethically is a way of life that promotes ideals such as honesty, integrity and trust. Do the right thing, don’t lie, don’t cheat and don’t steal – simple rules to live by, but standards that are demanding and near impossible to maintain if a person does not truly commit to them. Ethics and the art of being ethical are not as simple as processing a demand and response checklist. Rather, they are a way of life shaped by our upbringing, life’s experiences, role-models and religion.

So, when you see something wrong, do the right thing and correct it. Be the guiding light that promotes the highest ethical standards.

The American public maintains an unwavering trust in every Airman to do the right thing each and every day. Let’s not disappoint them.