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Respect is key to being a great Wingman

  • Published
  • By Col. Kyle Kremer
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
This week we held Wingman Day for the 375th Air Mobility Wing. Tuesday morning was spent in briefings and breakout sessions discussing a variety of topics to include sexual harassment. As with our previous Wingman Day in July where our dedicated topic was that of sexual assault, the underpinning principle at the center of discussion is that of respect.

Our Air Force core values--Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do--are built on a foundation of self-respect, respect for others, and mutual respect. We must continue to foster an environment where we can work together to successfully reach a common goal, in an atmosphere free of fear, that preserves individual self-worth.

We all share the responsibility of fostering a culture of mutual respect and letting individuals know when their behavior is not in line with this core belief. Enforcing standards on the few who violate them is showing respect to the vast majority of others who uphold them. That is one reason why the Air Force has reached out to the legal community and worked with the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator to publish the court martial convictions of those who violate these standards.

The website where more than 100 convictions from across the Air Force are listed can be viewed at www.afjag.af.mil/sexualassaultprosecution/index.asp. After a few minutes of reviewing the facts of these cases, you will soon see many cases are very similar - they involve: 1) the use of alcohol, 2) the absence of personal respect for the victim and 3) the absence of the victims' consent.

You will also quickly see that Airmen, who are convicted of sexual assault, can be held accountable by military judges and court-martial panels with punishments that often include jail time, rank reductions and punitive discharges. As required by many state laws, convicted Airmen must also register in their jurisdiction's sexual assault registry.
These sex offender lists include the names and addresses of convicted sex offenders, and are publicly available online.

The Air Force is serious about eliminating all forms of disrespect, which include sexual harassment and assault. In fact, just two months ago the Air Force began implementing a new policy whereby an Airman who commits a sexual assault will have administrative discharge proceedings initiated against them and can only be retained if they meet a multi-part retention test and with, for us, the 18th Air Force commander's approval.

Today, and every day, we want to emphasize the golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated. We are a diverse team of people from many cultures, traditions, backgrounds and beliefs--that's what makes us strong and effective. But that same diversity can also foster conflict, miscommunication and misunderstanding if we are not careful, and fail to show one another mutual respect. We are all one team ... one family ... and like a family, it takes effort to make sure we are moving forward in a positive direction.

The Air Force has pledged to do all that it can to prevent sexual harassment and assaults from happening. Together we can foster a climate of mutual respect and support the zero tolerance stance that our senior leaders advocate and truly be the Wingmen our Air Force family expects us to be!