Discipline: Have we lost it?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. DeWayne Colston
  • Lancer Air Maintenance Unit chief
Discipline. What does this mean to you? According to Webster's dictionary, discipline means "training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior" or "a systematic method to maintain obedience."

All military members receive training throughout their careers regarding standards and their enforcement, so why do we see infractions each and every day across the base? These infractions range from dress and appearance violations, to ignoring customs and courtesies. Many members may think it is someone else's job to stop and correct the individual; however, it is every military member's job to correct these infractions. If we do not correct them, then we are passively reinforcing situations such as wearing a red backpack in uniform, not rendering a salute when appropriate or any occurrence of the like.

We are all guilty of not taking the time to stop and correct these issues. It may be because we are running late, we are not confrontational or we simply believe someone else will take care it. Enforcing standards takes the concentrated effort of each and every person on the base, ranging from wing leadership to our newest Airmen.

Approaching a senior-ranking military member to inform them of an infraction can be very intimidating to some. The key is to respectfully approach the individual and explain the situation. The same goes for confronting a member of equal or lower rank. Most of us do not get up each day and purposely violate standards, however, over time we may let our standards slip and need a friendly reminder to make the correction.

It really is up to all of us to correct those who violate standards. It is not just the senior NCOs or the first sergeants' jobs; it is something we all must do, because it is our duty. What we do each day is more than a job. We are all members of a profession - the profession of arms. A profession is an organization that polices its own members. If we do not adhere to this, then we stand the chance our losing our professional status. I know Ellsworth is community of professionals, and we can't let the violations of a few jeopardize the status of many.

I leave you with a simple phrase made up of ten, two-letter words I learned at Air Combat Command Chief Master Sergeant's Orientation. "If it is to be, it is up to me." This simple phrase can be applied to all facets of life. I challenge each one of you to get out there and apply this phrase to enforcing standards, so everyone who steps foot on Ellsworth clearly understands they are in the company of professionals.