AF core values bonds, unifies us

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA -- Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. The Air Force core values are much more than minimum standards. They remind us what it takes to get the mission done. They inspire us to do our very best at all times. They are the common bond among all comrades in arms, and they are the glue that unifies the force and ties us to the great warriors and public servants of the past.

Integrity first is not only the first Air Force core value but one of the most important. As said in the "Little Blue Book," integrity is the ability to hold together and properly regulate all elements of a personality. Integrity also covers several other moral traits indispensable to national service. Integrity includes courage, honesty, responsibility, accountability, justice, openness, self-respect and humility.

The second core value is service before self. According to the "Little Blue Book," service before self tells us that professional duties take precedence over personal desires.

"I have been recognized as a hero for my ten minutes of action over Vietnam, but I am no more a hero than anyone else who has served this country." - Airman 1st Class John L. Levitow, Air Force Medal of Honor recipient.

This quote embodies what it means to put duty before self. Levitow showed courage under fire and his actions exemplified service before self by selflessly grabbing a smoking flare and throwing it from his aircraft before it ignited. He was probably never trained to grab a smoking flare, but his instincts took over to save the rest of the crew.
Keeping faith in the system means to place trust in the processes, procedures and fellow Airmen to get the job done right.

The culture and organizational atmosphere the system produces should be free from fear, unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment, intimidation, hazing and unfair treatment. Airmen should strive to achieve this every single day. The only way to make things better is to be actively involved in making the Air Force better. We have a duty to the Constitution, chain of command, fellow Airmen and ourselves to constantly strive to make things better.

Adherence to the core values is what makes putting on the uniform special each day. When you know the people around you believe in you, the communal sense of responsibility and doing the proper things becomes contagious. When Airmen work together, we can conquer any task even if on the surface it seems insurmountable. At the end of the day, service before self is why we are here.