The culture of responsible choices

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- As we make our way through and complete a Wingman Week here, I thought it fitting to share some thoughts on the wingman concept and the concept of the Culture of Responsible Choices, or CoRC.

The wingman concept was born in the war-torn skies over Europe during the First World War, where it was quickly learned flying solo against the enemy had dangerous consequences on both the offense and defense. Having a wingman meant there were two sets of eyes -- better than one; twice the firepower; someone to watch your vulnerable rear sector, your "six" or 6-o'clock position, when pressing an attack; a friendly face to stay with and protect as a damaged aircraft, or wounded pilot limped back toward friendly lines.

I'm glad the Air Force made a concerted effort in recent years to take this concept out of the operations realm and bring it into our daily lives as Airmen. The concept in combat makes perfect sense, but it also makes sense in our everyday lives and as we accomplish the more mundane day-to-day operations -- Airmen taking care of Airmen. A more recent addition to the wingman concept is the CoRC.

CoRC has a lot to do with individual actions, but also rings true in a groups. CoRC, initially conceived as a way to counter destructive behaviors of alcohol and drug abuse, has the potential for a much wider scope.

Let's examine the three key words of CoRC and place them in perspective for us as Airmen.

CULTURE - this is our set of ideas, values, methods, tactics that we as Airmen all have in common and sets us apart from others.

RESPONSIBLE - Webster uses words like: answerable, accountable for something in one's control or power, having the capacity for moral decisions.

CHOICE - the right or opportunity make a selection from a variety of options.

What does this mean to Airmen and what are we trying to achieve? We are trying to create a group of people dedicated to the nation's defense that when given the opportunity, will make the right and smart decision in line with our values of integrity, service and excellence for the good of the mission and the nation.

We are trying to get every Airman to think through his or her actions and anticipate the good and bad consequences, then act in the best interest for his or her personal safety and in the execution of the mission. Applying CoRC to everyday life and Air Force situations gives individual Airmen the chance to do the right thing for themselves, not just for substance abuse, such as binge drinking, driving drunk, or using drugs.

Here are some common examples of applying CoRC: not driving too fast for conditions, wearing seatbelts, using proper personal protective equipment when doing a job, following technical data, following regulations and instructions.

It really comes down to thinking before acting and anticipating the effects of personal actions, not only for yourself, but those around you. CoRC principles, applied by supervisors and leaders will reap tremendous benefits as we accomplish our demanding missions too.

Leaders, make the right and smart decisions for your fellow Airmen that will not endanger any of them or the ability to accomplish the mission. The benefits can be improved efficiency, preservation of mission essential assets, both materiel and personnel. In theory, if each and every wingman applies CoRC effectively we can drastically reduce negative consequences that befall too many of our Airmen.

So when we are out there doing the mission, or just doing the everyday things in life, let's take care of ourselves and our fellow wingmen: live the core values, think before you act and make responsible choices.