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‘Who cares?’

By Senior Master Sgt. David M. Miles Air Force Global Strike Command command armament system superintendent

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I was a first sergeant deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom a few years ago. I kept getting asked the same question every time I had to correct someone for various uniform and behavioral issues--"Who cares?"

"Who cares" that I haven't shaved in a couple of days; we are fighting a war here. Who cares that I am not properly wearing my Air Force physical training gear. I am not at home station and it doesn't matter. Who cares that someone had a general order violation, they didn't hurt anyone.

The problem I have with this question of, "who cares," is each time I was asked this question, it was from NCOs, senior NCOs and officers.

I will answer the question of who cares in a moment, but before I do, I have a few more questions. Who cares if the doctor follows proper medical protocol when treating a patient? Who cares if a security forces Airman sleeps on his guard post? Who cares if flightline maintenance personnel don't follow proper technical data when securing the aircraft engine? The answer to all of these questions is the same. We should all care.

We are all members of the Air Force, whether we wear the Airman Battle Uniform or a flight suit. We should all be concerned of how our Airmen, NCOs, senior NCOs and officers represent themselves, especially when we are deployed.

For the young NCO, don't wait for the senior NCO to correct your Airman before you get involved. By the time the senior NCO gets involved, it's too late. Senior NCOs don't need to wait for the first sergeant or the commander to correct their Airmen. It is all of our responsibility to police our Airmen and not wait for someone else to do our job.

We all know that the first line of the Air Force Core Values is integrity first. We also know that integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is watching. This applies to us all whether we are deployed or at home.

We should all care if someone isn't wearing their uniform correctly. We should all care if someone is breaking the rules that we all should be following. We should all care how someone is representing our Air Force and our nation. I know that I care.