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Letter to Airmen - The Core Values

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II
  • Commander, 18th Air Force
"To understand, accept, and internalize the Core Values, our people must be allowed and encouraged to engage in an extended dialogue about them and to explore the role of the values at all levels of the Air Force."

                   - United States Air Force Core Values, 1 January 1997

Mobility Airmen,

The statement above mentions engaging in an extended dialogue about our Core Values.  In my recent letters, the theme was "getting back to basics." Just as "getting back to basics" is key to safely accomplishing your mission, understanding and internalizing the Core Values is key to being a successful Airman.  Consider what it fundamentally means to be an Airman in the United States Air Force, explore our Core Values, and internalize them if you haven't already.

Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do are the simple words that give Airmen a sense of unity and tie us to the great warriors and public servants of the past.  They teach us that there is no replacement for virtue, character, dignity and respect.  If we accept a lesser standard for ourselves or allow our Wingmen to do so, we compromise the very foundation of airmanship that those who have gone before us worked so diligently to build.

Airmen across Eighteenth Air Force are living up to our Core Values.  We incorporate them into our daily lives, on and off duty, in-garrison and deployed.  I see it when I visit our wings as well as on staff.  However, issues with sexual assault, command accountability, and wingmanship bring the authenticity of our core values into question.  In short, our Core Values epitomize the very nature of our military profession and capture what it means to be an Airman; they are not negotiable. 

Take time to think about how the Core Values influence your day-to-day decisions.  Talk to each other about what Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do means to you, and explore the role of our Core Values as they relate to the United States Air Force.

Thank you for what you do every day.  It is my honor to serve beside you!