Practice professionalism at all times

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr.
  • Commander, Air Froce Test Center
I want to share some thoughts on professionalism, what it means to be a professional, qualities of professional organizations and my expectations.

As members of the United States Air Force we meet the definition of a professional. We are experts in our field. We deliver high quality work. We are held in high regard by society. We monitor and self-regulate our activities.

As part of the Air Force Test Center team, we exhibit the characteristics of professionals and a professional organization day in and day out, and I am proud to serve with the Airmen (military, government civilians and contractors), who test and support the testing of the most advanced and weapons systems for our warfighters.

So, why do I point these things out?

Over the past months there have been multiple stories about activities within the Air Force that have hurt our force's image and have no place within a professional organization such as the Air Force and the Air Force Test Center. Our ability to claim the status of a professional organization depends on the actions of each and every one of us and how we self-regulate.

Leaders, I am a firm believer in RHIR - Rank Has Its Responsibilities. As commanders, command chiefs, flight chiefs, section supervisors, branch chiefs and first sergeants, are entrusted to care for and lead our most valuable resource - the men and women who work in the Air Force Test Center. We should set an example for them with not only our words and job-related actions but also in our efforts to maintain a proper professional environment. By that, I mean an environment where everyone feels free to contribute to the mission and is appreciated for their contributions.

When leaders look the other way when an inappropriate joke is told or an inappropriate picture is displayed, the leaders have set the office standard. We cannot have that. We have to make timely corrective actions.

I also want to remind you proper professional behavior applies to off-duty activities as well. Even off base, inappropriate is still inappropriate.

If we, as leaders, are unable or unwilling to step up to our responsibilities then we need to step aside and be replaced by those who can and will do the right thing.

Airmen, if you see inappropriate behavior or encounter a negative work environment, step up, talk to the individual, bring it to the attention of a supervisor, use the chain of command and make us aware so we can take action. This may be intimidating or frightening, but I implore you to make a stand for what is right. We, as leaders, value your inputs. Your inputs are critical to our ability to focus efforts to maintain a professional work environment.

Each of us has a responsibility that goes beyond our branch, flight, squadron and group. We took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We have a responsibility to the American people and each other. We must continue to live up to those characteristics of a professional organization, so we continue to fill our role in this nation's defense and continue to recruit America's best and brightest sons and daughters to serve.

We must create the proper environment so everyone can contribute to their fullest potential. hall of fame football coach Vince Lombardi once stated, "The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual." For us to succeed, we need to maximize the combined effort of each and every individual.

We recently executed Health and Welfare Inspections across the center to look for inappropriate items in the work place that are a detriment to good order and discipline and detract from our efforts to maintain a professional work environment. Inappropriate items were removed, and any illegal items discovered handled according to the UCMJ and appropriate evidence handling procedures.

Health and Wellness inspections cannot be one-time events. We must exercise daily vigilance to protect against and root out anything that degrades mission accomplishment, some of which may be labeled "traditions."

Thanks to each and every one of you for what you do each and every day to make the Air Force Test Center successful.