We are all Airmen...Period!

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jermaine Evans
  • 309th Aircraft Maintenance Unit
I've never had the option of choosing who I wanted to supervise. I've never been allowed to conduct interviews for possible coworkers. If given the option, I would not be able to choose, or not choose, a subordinate or coworker by the type of music they listen to, where they were born, or what they like to do for a hoppy. The choice would strictly depend on their potential to get the mission accomplished.

We've all worked with someone who doesn't look, talk, think or share the same interest or beliefs that we do. The diversity within our services mirrors the diversity of our great nation. What sets the military apart is the oath of enlistment. We voluntarily raised our right hand and swore (or affirmed) that we would obey "...according to regulations and the Uniformed Code of Military Justice." This means we are held to a higher standard. This means you have agreed to put the mission before your personal preferences exemplifying the core value "Service before Self."

As of Sept. 20, the Defense Department lifted the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy allowing gay and lesbian service members to serve openly in the military. As I sit on different panels and visit Professional Military Education classes, some Airmen believe it should be lifted, some are indifferent about the policy and some are totally against it. If you are one of the Airmen who are totally against this policy, I recommend rereading the previous paragraph. No matter what your feelings are toward this policy and the sexual orientation of other Airmen, the bottom line is: We are all Airmen ... Period! At the end of the day, the race, religion, gender or sexual orientation of another Airman is not the deciding factor for the mission getting accomplished. It's the drive, motivation, intelligence and character of each and every Airman that gets the mission accomplished.

Supervisors, you play an integral role in this transition. You set the tone inside and outside your respective units. Your Airmen will look to you for guidance, leadership and assistance. Their background and lifestyle should not be a factor on fulfilling your supervisory responsibilities. Their background and lifestyle should only matter to you when you decide how you will communicate to that Airman to get the mission done and to help that Airman grow professionally and personally.