News: Attention to detail: difference between life, death
Story by Airman Sean Crowe
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Air Force Military Training Instructors instill the three Air Force core values into every Airman during Basic Military Training: Integrity, Service Before Self and Excellence In All We Do.
The excellence ideal is instilled through countless hours of meticulous clothes folding, drill, cleaning, studying, uniform maintaining in addition to most other tasks. Any airman can recount tales of spending hours clipping strings which are less than an inch from uniforms to comply with BMT standards. This example may seem trivial but making small mistakes can play out with tragic consequences in more serious scenarios.
Attention to detail is one aspect that helps ensure excellence in all we do. All airmen must have impeccable attention to detail to prevent catastrophic consequences, which some service members have seen during their careers. It could mean the difference between life and death in certain career fields.
Inattention to detail by an aircraft maintainer could mean the loss of an aircraft and by extension, aircrew members’ lives. It is very possible for a mechanic to go to work on an aircraft and forget a simple bolt or screw that can make a world of difference. The Air Force could lose an aircraft and lives if that same bolt or screw is vital for flight.
Every job in the Air Force, whether it’s maintenance or administration, plays a role into other jobs.
An aircrew-life-systems technician could properly test a life raft’s inflation capability, resulting in an aircrew member having no means of protection if the aircraft fails over an ocean. Opposing Forces could capture an aircrew member who forgot details from his Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training and return without honor due to his inattention.
A lack of conscientious effort or inattention to detail also tends to create a chain-reaction effect of work flow onto others. Someone will have to pick up the slack when someone makes a mistake.
A security forces member forgetting to check credentials and allowing installation access to someone with malicious intent. If that person sets off an improvised explosive device in an occupied building, security forces members, firefighters and medics would have to clean up the mess the security forces member could have prevented. This is an example of how mistakes will cause a chain reaction of additional work onto others.
Attention to detail is important in every work center, even if it does not mean life or death. A personnel specialist filing paper incorrectly could mean the loss of man hours when others have to recover lost paperwork. This example also demonstrates how shirking responsibilities causes more work for others.
Many people can point out at least one coworker who could do a better job of exemplifying the excellence-in-all-we-do attitude. It is very possible that individual could use their coworkers’ encouragement as well as guidance and direction of his leadership tier and more experienced counterparts. It would benefit the Air Force and all its members greatly if these people adapted the Air Force core values into their lives.
Negligence also equates to culpability. Some will tend to become bitter and neglectful toward the airmen lacking motivation or capability. It is much more beneficial however to help that airman better himself and demonstrate wingmanship.
“Excellence in All We Do” cannot just be something that is written on the airman’s coin and on posters in work centers throughout the Air Force. It has to be a personal commitment that every Airman decides to make every day.