HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

Step up, step in to eliminate iniquities

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- A few weeks ago, I was watching my favorite show and a popular Armed Forces Network commercial came on featuring Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander, and Chief Master Sgt. James Davis, USAFE command chief.

At the end of the commercial were the words "Step Up, Step In," and for some reason, the phrase has remained in my thoughts. Maybe the commercial was just that good or maybe there is more to 'Step Up, Step In' than a commercial or phrase. Maybe there's some action required to bring this phrase to life.

As I began to contemplate and focus on "Step Up, Step In," my first thought was to turn to the dictionary. I wanted to define the terms in hopes of internalizing and breaking it down so I could really grasp the concept. According to Webster's Dictionary, step-up is defined as in increase or rise in the rate or quantity of something. Step-in is defined as becoming involved; intervening.

The light bulb came on in my brain that now is the time for all of us to step up and step in.

We must all step-up and step-in to stop driving under the influence. We know the dangers and are constantly reminded of the negative and career-impacting consequences of DUIs. Not only that, but we travel these roads with our families and loved ones. We must be confident the person driving towards us or behind us is alert and not under the influence.

The Air Force affords us many opportunities to travel all over the world and visit some nice places. During our travels and extended stays, we are all encouraged to enjoy ourselves, but with that enjoyment comes personal responsibility. We must conduct ourselves as ambassadors. As professional wingmen, we must step-up and step-in when we see our friends and fellow Airmen overindulging. We have to help others help themselves by making good decisions for them. Sometimes, that good decision is taking the keys and giving them a ride home, but drinking and driving is not the only place we can help.

We must step-up and step-in in an effort to prevent suicide.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. We must increase our awareness to the signs of suicide and intervene by getting our friends, family and coworkers the professional medical or spiritual assistance they need. None of us are immune to the problems of life. Dr. Martin Luther King says it best, "life is as hard as steel." The problems of life can sometimes be overwhelming, but that is never a reason to stop or give up.

As we continue to face manpower cuts and uncertainties, this is a time where we all need to be strong for each other. We will survive and get through these tough times together. Most of us know someone who is impacted by force reduction. We must be there for our friends and families who are facing an uncertain future. As true wingmen, we must "Step Up, Step In."

Lastly, we must step-up and step-in to eradicate our military of sexual assault. This ugly crime has no place in our military. We must create an environment free of harassment and assault. Our Air Force must continue to be a place where everyone who is willing to sacrifice and work hard enough can achieve success. It is our duty to step-up, step-in.

The 31st Fighter Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. Jon A. Norman says it best, "Sexual assault exacts an extraordinary toll on victims and their families. We go into combat together and there can be no hesitation in that trust between our brothers and sisters in arms. Those who commit sexual assault break down this trust and we have no place for that in our service."

We need everyone onboard to accomplish the mission. Every Airman must be a sensor to combat this problem of sexual assault within our ranks. There is never an excuse to be silent when it comes to battling sexual assault. We must step-up, step-in to stop all forms of assault. There is no place in the world's greatest Air Force for assault of any kind. We must embrace the phrase, 'not in my Air Force' when it comes to sexual assault.

As we go about performing our daily duties, we must stay vigilant of opportunities to step-up and step-in. We must "Step Up, Step In" to stop drinking and driving. We must "Step Up, Step In" to prevent suicide. We must "Step Up, Step In" to stop sexual assaults. We need everyone on board. All of us must "Step Up, Step In." Are you willing?