Commander’s Corner

  • Published
  • By Col. Robert E. Suminsby Jr.
  • 377th Air Base Wing Commander
Don't let illegal activities continue in your office 

Kirtland's Air Force Assistance Fund drive has only one week left. This is the one fund drive that gives us the opportunity to help our fellow Airmen and their families, both active duty and retired.

The money we collect goes to four charities, three set up to help widows and widowers with emergency money and places to live. The fourth, the Air Force Aid Society, helps active duty Airmen survive trying times.

This money can help when an emergency drains your savings. You can get money for vehicle repairs, funeral expenses for family members, unexpected illnesses, natural disasters and assistance after a home fire. The money you get can either be in the form of a grant, which you don't have to pay back, or a no-interest loan.

There are plenty of reasons to give to the Air Force Assistance Fund. If you can help, please do.

Last week I received the results from a Unit Climate Assessment. Although most of the results were positive, it served as a reminder that no organization has 100 percent of its people happy 100 percent of the time. If even a tiny fraction of our workforce perceives harassment, discrimination or ethical lapses, it has a negative effect on our performance, and ultimately, our mission.

So, if there is something illegal or just wrong going on in your workplace, tell someone about it. Don't just let it continue. Don't allow a problem to fester, thinking, "I'll wait until I've got enough to go to the IG ..." Take action now and nip the problem in the bud. Tell your boss. If your boss is the problem, tell the next person up the line. The vast majority of the Air Force wants to do the right thing, but your chain of command can't fix a problem they don't know about. So speak up - it's everyone's duty to keep everything done in the name of the U.S. Air Force aboveboard and honest.

I take the business of equal opportunity and treatment very seriously and I expect each of you to do the same. It begins with leadership and continues down to the youngest Airman and newest civilian employee. It is an active process. All of us, no matter how well-meaning, have inherent biases. (Just ask a Red Sox fan how he feels about the Yankees.) Treating people fairly and equitably requires each of us to honestly confront any bias we may hold and ensure that those biases do not influence the decisions we make or our treatment of others.

I have zero tolerance for any form of unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment or reprisal in the Team Kirtland community and I expect swift and firm action at all levels to correct such behavior whenever allegations of unlawful discrimination are confirmed.

Anyone who feels they have been harassed or discriminated against has an obligation to confront that behavior and put a stop to it. My Military Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity staffs are always available to assist you in these matters, but I challenge all of you to rely first and foremost on open, honest communication in the workplace.

Finally, I offer a thought for your day. Last week, I had an opportunity to tour several parts of Sandia National Labs, and I was struck by their motto: "Exceptional Service in the National Interest." That's a challenging standard to live up to, but one that all of us at Team Kirtland - military members, government civilians and contractors - should strive for every day.

Thanks, as always, for everything that you do!