Are you a Professional Airman?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Robert Triplett
  • 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander
Recently, many officials in our Air Force stated we need to get "back to basics" in light of the many troubles and challenges we have faced with failed inspections, lack of manpower and a host of other issues. What exactly does this mean? 

For me, it all goes back to the fundamentals a 22-year Senior Master Sergeant taught me at his knee, my dad SMSgt James Triplett. Based on those lessons and my incredible and humbling experience in the Air Force, I believe it all boils down to simply being professional Airmen who exhibit the following qualities:

They are Airmen with a capital "A".

- They never violates their integrity and don't tolerate it in others.

- They put their service to their country first over personal interests; this does not mean service before family... for family must take priority.

- They put a stamp of excellence on everything they touch and accomplish any task given to them to the best of their ability.

- They should have memorized our Airmen's Creed.

- They get chills up and down their spine and goose bumps every time they hear the National Anthem.

- They stands up when someone higher ranking addresses them; and says "sir/ma'am/chief"

- They treat everyone with respect regardless of rank.

- They don't walk by a problem.

- They allow problems to be solved at the lowest levels or fix it instead of pushing it up the chain of command.

- They are dynamic followers and pass problems they can't solve up to their supervisors.

- They allow Airmen they are responsible for do their duty. True leadership is the liberation of talent and no one knows their job better than they do.

- They hold the Airmen they are responsible for, accountable if they are not meeting standards.

- They take the time to teach, mentor and train their replacement.

- They enforce fundamental military discipline.

- They don't pass the buck to someone else and take full responsibility for their duty to their Airmen and the mission.

- They don't complain without bringing forward a recommended solution.

- They don't bad mouth the organization but gives constructive criticism to help make the unit better.

- They stop any safety infraction immediately, regardless of rank.

- They take the time to do the job safe and right, even when no one is watching them.

- They don't drink and drive or drink underage.

- They take initiative to help and watch out for their fellow Airman.

- They don't give in to anger.

- They take time to better themselves by continuing their education with a Community College of the Air Force degree or completing their required Professional Military Education.

- They compete only with themselves to be the most proficient technician they can be.

- They keep their hair cut and their uniform looking sharp.

- They complete their fitness test on time, don't miss scheduled appointments or have to be reminded to get their ancillary training done.

- They pay their bills on time, including their Government Travel Card.

- They ask for help if they are struggling personally and find help for their fellow Airmen who need it.

- They are proud of what they do, defending our nation's freedom in the greatest Air Force in the world.

I strongly believe we are held to a higher standard in the United States Air Force and we must exhibit these qualities of professional Airmen. It has been said only one percent of the American public has worn the uniform of our country. We are a part of that one percent. As professional Airman, we must give our absolute best all the time because the American people and the free world are counting on us. Failure is not an option.