You're accountable!

  • Published
  • By Andrew Mills
  • 460th Andrew Mills
Your unit deployment manager informs you that you've been tasked to deploy. At your initial deployment briefing you are provided a checklist that covers out-processing requirements and specific reporting instructions. The Air Force has provided you guidance on everything from creating a will with the base legal office, to the timeline for picking up your medical records from the medical group. So what is your role in this process?

Personal accountability is a phrase that is often lost in the sea of checklists, Air Force instructions and message traffic. Who is responsible for making sure your bank has the proper documentation to allow your spouse to make routine transactions while you're deployed? Who ensures timely progress is made on your out-processing checklist to ensure completion by your final out-processing appointment? There are numerous agencies and personnel within your chain of command that can provide you assistance and make periodic checks on your progress, but ultimately you, the member, are responsible for ensuring you are prepared to deploy and support the combatant commander.

Integrity is an Air Force core value. When asked to define the value, often we hear "doing the right thing even when no one is watching." While we may hear this definition on a regular basis, we rarely take the opportunity to apply it in our day-to-day operations. Integrity ensures we are taking personal accountability of our actions and shortcomings even when there is someone else to blame. 

When defining Integrity as an Air Force Core Value, the Little Blue Book (AFD-090212-058), tells us that "no person of integrity tries to shift the blame..." It's far too easy to point the finger away from ourselves. When we didn't get promoted, was it the lack of the Commendation Medal that caused us to miss the cut-off or was it our decision to cut those study sessions short so we could hang out with friends? Should your physical training leader be accountable for ensuring you are ready to pass your annual PT test or should you take some personal accountability and utilize the Health and Wellness Center tools to build a personal fitness program that keeps you fit year-round?

Whether we are preparing for a deployment, promotion or our annual physical training test we have an obligation to take personal accountability for our actions. Retired Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf once said, "The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it."

As you perform your day-to-day operations, take the time to fuse integrity into each decision. Take personal accountability for the outcome and impact it will have on your fellow airmen and the mission as a whole.