Living the core values

  • Published
  • By Col. Kimerlee Conner
  • 21st Mission Support Group commander
While in many respects it seems like yesterday, it also seems like an eternity ago that I was handed the guidon to start a tour as the 21st Mission Support Group commander. As I started, I had my ideas of what the job would be like, in retrospect ... I had no idea! Quickly though, I began to understand the true meaning behind "The Heartbeat of Team Pete" and to appreciate the phenomenal men and women who make fantastic things happen every day by living our core values.

I have had many fantastic jobs in the Air Force, but this has been the best, and what made it so is the people of the 21st Space Wing and specifically those in the 21st Mission Support Group. Throughout the wing, the Knights of the 21st amazed me every single day with their spirit, dedication and innovation. Specifically to the men and women of the mission support group, thank-you for all you do day in and day out. As we strive to make Peterson Air Force Base the best place to work, live and visit in the Air Force, it is your efforts that make it happen. These efforts, while often occurring behind the scenes, are noticed and appreciated more than I can express in words here, but please accept my thanks and appreciation.

As I reflect on the core values, certain realities come to mind:

Integrity is a character trait. It is the willingness to do what is right even when no one is looking. It is the "moral compass" -- the inner voice; the voice of self control; the basis for the trust imperative in today's military. Our people are filled with integrity, courage and conviction. While faced with many challenges, they attacked them head-on with honesty, responsibility in performance of their duties, and always sought to do the right thing ... even when it was the most difficult option. Regardless of whom the customer is, they always strive to give nothing but the best and to give answers and recommendations based in integrity.

Service before self tells us professional duties take precedence over personal desires. The people in this organization epitomize service before self. We have asked a lot of them, and they have given even more. There have been countless evenings and weekends spent away from their own family so they could serve others. I have continually been impressed with the teamwork employed and the genuine happiness and pride displayed in helping others ... it is what we do.

The truest example of service before self is our men and women who have deployed and put themselves in harm's way. I cannot express how many times I have received feedback on the tremendous work they've accomplished downrange ... they have continuously put the needs of others above their own, and done so proudly. A perfect example of this core value is Airman 1st Class Matt Seidler, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician who gave his life for his country; he will forever be a reminder of the sacrifice our men and women make to preserve our freedom and to ensure this remains the greatest country in the world.

Excellence in all we do directs us to develop a sustained passion for the continuous improvement and innovation that will propel the Air Force into a long-term, upward spiral of accomplishment and performance. Our people attack everything they do with excellence in mind. We have strived for excellence and to continuously find ways to make things better ... to leave things better than we found them. In this time of diminished resources, it is imperative we find innovative ways to conduct our business. There have been countless displays of this innovation, several of them which have been deemed Air Force best practices.

General Ronald Fogelman, former chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, once said, "True quality is embodied in the actions of Air Force people who take decisive steps to improve processes and products; who capitalize on quality as a leverage tool to enhance products, achieve savings and improve customer service; and who exemplify our core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do."

You have lived this, and you have made a difference.

To all the Knights of the 21st Space Wing, thank you all for your dedicated service, your professionalism and your support. It has truly been my honor to serve alongside you! Keep fighting the good fight!