An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | June 18, 2010

What is Organizational Pride?

By Chief Master Sgt. Neil McGillicuddy 89th Communications Squadron

There I was on an airplane with my family waiting for takeoff from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Over the loudspeaker the pilot instructed us to take a look out the airplane window to see a very important sight.

There, shining under the hot Chicago sun was Air Force One in its distinct blue and white splendor. The passenger seated next to me pointed and said excitedly said "Look, there it is!"

All across the aircraft there were oohs and ahs. I could hear my wife Liz telling another passenger about her recent tour of the Presidential Aircraft, and I found myself talking about being in the Air Force and the 89th Airlift Wing.

I realized my organizational pride was showing through as I talked to the passenger on my left.

Organizational pride; an often overlooked, sometimes misunderstood cornerstone of successfully accomplishing the Air Force mission. So what exactly is organizational pride? What are some of its roots, where do we see examples and finally why is it important?

Organizational pride at its simplest is having high esteem in a respectful manner for the organization you are part of. It is seen at all levels of any organization, and this is certainly true in the Air Force where we see exhibits of pride from the flight level right on up to Headquarters Air Force. There are many origins. From my perspective, heritage lays the building blocks upon which these roots of origin developed.

From Billy Mitchell's advocacy of an independent Air Force, the Tuskegee Airmen and Doolittle Raiders, the Vietnam and Gulf War air campaigns, right on up to the wars we fight in today, our heritage has defined our organization. We have heritage halls and history offices to promote and preserve our proud lineage. Visit one as soon as possible if you haven't done so already.

Examples of organizational pride can be seen everywhere. From changes of command ceremonies to promotion ceremonies to a combat dining-in, we assemble to recognize and applaud each other in our combined pursuit of excellence and ensuring the Air Force stays focused on our mission.

We have patches, emblems, badges, flags and cheers that define us individually at all levels but keep us centered as one entity. Look at Ammo. Who in the Air Force does not know their distinctive battle cry? At the same time, we also all know their unwavering commitment to the collective mission.

A more personal example is when my commander, Lt. Col. Chris Brooks said at his first commander's call, "Being good is not good enough when you dream of being great." This vision and his challenge to us both as individuals and as a squadron have served as a catalyst for achievement at the highest levels. As each challenge was met and each goal reached, we became more cohesive and our organizational pride literally turned our squadron into a juggernaut. This served the 89th Airlift Wing mission well and was a force enabler for Air Mobility Command and hence big Air Force.

This leads to the importance of organizational pride. These are challenging times for our Air Force as we shift and change to meet the needs of the nation in continuing response to the events of 9/11 along with tighter fiscal constraints. We are engaged on two war fronts, drawing manning down again, enforcing tougher physical-fitness standards, engaging in joint operations and basing across the board, looking at equipment modernization, reviewing repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and exploring expanded use of unmanned aerial vehicles. These are all big deals. To meet these challenges head on we need to be a collective team, a juggernaut backed by the knowledge and foundations of our heritage. Organizational pride lets us be Airmen first, proud in our accomplishments and secure in the power we bring to bear in service to our country. I know the citizens appreciate us and are proud of us. Their exuberant reaction to Air Force One on a Chicago runway was solid proof.