Dude, where's my military bearing?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Morris Miller
  • 36th Mission Support Squadron first sergeant
It's 5 p.m., and the first notes of music are heard in the distance. My spouse, a civilian, stands with her heels together and hand over her heart. Other civilians take notice and do the same.

Well into the national anthem, two Airmen walk pass my spouse, talking and entering a store. The problem here wasn't that the Airmen weren't just disregarding an Air Force instruction, but they discredited the Air Force and how about their country? Have you ever allowed this to happen? Did you hurry to your car or building just so you don't have to stand there for a few minutes paying respect to the flag and the national anthem?

Many times I see Airmen with their hands in their pockets. I've also noticed uniformed Airman talking on private cell phones, smoking and eating all while walking. No matter what rank you are, no matter what rank the offender is, it is everyone's responsibility to tactfully remind those not complying with standards that this behavior is unacceptable. Not only is that person violating the AFI, they are setting themselves up for failure. They are not abiding by the standards. They are not showing integrity.

Ask yourself these questions: "Do you show the respect to every individual regardless of rank?" "Do you address someone by sir or ma'am?" "When someone walks up to you in your office, do you stand?" "Have you ever called someone by his or her first name, nickname, or worse, 'Dude?'" "As a supervisor or leader, do you let them?" "Do you answer your phone incorrectly?" "Do you just point someone in the direction they want to go or do you take time to walk them there?" 

Most of us have been guilty of these actions. As an Airman, you have the responsibility of upholding the standards and hopefully going above and beyond. As supervisors and leaders, your responsibility is to enforce the standard.

Standards are written for a reason. They maintain good order and discipline, set the military apart from the rest, and they help build a team concept. Without standards, we would not know what is expected of us. Standards have become stricter in the last few years because of the more aggressive lifestyle. 

Trust me, if it was up to certain individuals, the men and women would wear their hair long, have multiple tattoos, body piercing, etc. This would not be a professional image, and for some of you that is hard to swallow. You are, right at this moment, shouting at this article, "Why does it matter!"

Why does it matter? It matters because we are in the military. We should act as such. We took an oath. We signed the dotted line and said we will follow orders from those appointed above us. We aren't working in the family store; we are the most famous, most powerful, most respected military in the world. 

You are a part of it. Be proud of the rank you hold. When you awake and get dressed in your uniform, remember those who wore the uniform before you; the men and women who fought in the wars in the past. Remember the ones who died serving our country. You should demonstrate pride when you put the uniform on and when you represent the United States Air Force. You are making history, and YOU are the future.