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NEWS | March 27, 2009

Let's make common courtesy common again

By Col. Clair Gilk 316th Operations Group commander

The 316th Wing is making great strides in meeting our wing goals of evident pride in ourselves, our wing and our base, presidential respect and support from each all Team Andrews members and their families, and having Airmen fit to fight and win across all spectrums.

We have spent much of the last nine months working on improving the pride we have in our wing and our efforts to include all of Team Andrews in that goal. While we continue to work on this goal, I encourage all of Team Andrews, not just the 316 WG, to boost efforts in our second goal of support and respect. A very simple and noticeable way to boost this goal is to bring common courtesy to the forefront of what we do every day.

There are many ways to define common courtesy, but the one that works best for me is treating someone else the way you would like to be treated. This should not be a hard concept to grasp, but I have seen a number of occasions since I have been assigned to Andrews that make me wonder if we have allowed our busy, rushed days to overtake all the lessons that most of our elders taught us as we grew up.

Treating everyone with dignity and respect reflects a demeanor that all of us can be proud of daily. When we are providing a service to a customer, we are taught to be polite, respectful and give our full attention. When we are the customer, we owe the same politeness, respect and attention to those who are providing the service. Talking a on a cell phone while being served is simply disrespectful and inattentive. We should know better, but this seems to be a common discourtesy that we see almost every day.

As common courtesies have become less common, our society has written laws to reinstitute them. Yielding to pedestrians and stopping at stop signs are a couple of good examples of laws written for the common good of all, attempting to enforce common courtesy. While the vast majority of us follow the law, there are a few who seem to disregard it.

In the past five weeks, I have nearly been hit three times by drivers as I have entered a crosswalk on Andrews. Two other drivers who were talking on their cell phones and did not even slow down for stop signs also almost hit me. This does not send a good message to others who either work here or are visiting. We can do better.

Common courtesy is contagious. The more we practice it, the more likely we are to see it practiced by others. It can be a major part in the next step of our successful efforts to change the "Andrews Way" to mean something more positive. I encourage all to demonstrate a little common courtesy each day. For those who are already doing this, I thank you and say that it's time to up your game. Set the example and others will follow. For those who are a little common courtesy challenged, it is time to join the team and make everyone feel respected at Andrews.