Person sharing the USAF core values from a book.

Highlighting the values of the National Guard and U.S. Air Force

In writing my column on military values, I suggested the Army was the oldest branch. However, I received a correction from Chief Warrant Officer 5 (retired) John Vitt, the President of the Arizona National Guard Foundation, Inc.

He pointed out the Army National Guard is the oldest component of the U.S. Armed Forces and serves as the primary combat reserve of the U.S. Army.

Established in 1636, the Guard is governor-responsive and ready to defend the homeland. Their leading officer is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which consists of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau and the Chief of Space Operations.

He says, “The Army National Guard has adopted the same Core Values you mention in your article for the U.S. Army. [Both Services use the acronym LDRSHIP (Leadership) to remind them of the values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honesty, Integrity, and Personal courage you mentioned.].”

I thought this acronym helped provide a way to engrain values to their memories.

He adds, “The Air National Guard has adopted the same Core Values as the U.S. Air Force: “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do.”

Thus, the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard values are:
– Integrity First – Integrity is always doing the right thing, or not anyone is watching. Virtues included are Honesty, Courage, Accountability, and Humility.

– Service Before Self – The choice to serve is … a calling, a daily commitment that takes energy, dedication, and sacrifice. Selfless service places demands upon service and guard members that are not levied upon the American public or those who choose other professions. The virtues that demonstrate “service before self” include Duty, Loyalty, and Respect.

– Excellence In All We Do – This value directs USAF and Guard members to advance their craft and increase their knowledge continuously. The virtues that demonstrate “excellence in all we do” include Mission, Discipline, and Teamwork.

He closed his email with this point, “Another point about our National Guard. The citizen-soldiers and airmen in the National Guard serve two commanders in chief: the governor of the state or territory of their residence and the president of the United States, just like they did in 1636 and every conflict since.”

Understanding the values and virtues that drive our military men and women to defend our freedom is essential to why they serve.

Next week, we will turn to the U.S. Coast Guard, which in war can be transferred to the Department of the Navy, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Space Force core values.

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