Integrity and courage

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by another13mom, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. another13mom

    another13mom 5-Year Member

    Jun 18, 2008
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    US Air Force Col. Robert Stanley II. letter of resignation shows character and a lesson that hopefully will be heeded by many in and out of the military. Picked up from the AP today:

    Wing One Colleagues,

    Over the past few months, we have been forced to navigate through some of the roughest waters most of us have ever experienced professionally. We've seen the reputation of our beloved wing and America's ICBM mission tarnished because of the extraordinarily selfish actions of officers entrusted with the most powerful weapon system ever devised by man. As you are now learning, the ramifications are dire. Many lives will be permanently changed as a result.

    But this costly lesson must not be in vain.

    The lesson? Had just one solitary airman spoken up for integrity, our leadership team would have been able to take action immediately.

    Tragically, peer pressure and the fear of being an outcast prevailed. As a result, the misconduct had to be inadvertently discovered by OSI agents.

    Think of how different the narrative would be had the silent Airman just come forward. That airman would now be lionized as a hero for casting aside his or her own fear of being made an outcast by a few inadequate peers.

    That airman would have single-handedly preserved the honor and dignity of Malmstrom and all the wonderful people who make up this incredible wing.

    But it didn't happen. Wrong won out over right ... the voice of integrity was silenced ... and the good guy lost at the end of the movie.

    This is a wake-up call for everyone who has lost their sense of right and wrong, for those who have become cynical and for those indoctrinated by modern society to acquiesce when faced with bad behavior.

    "All that is necessary for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing." I highlighted this old axiom as the main point of my change of command speech a little over a year ago. I implored our formations of airmen that it never be said of Malmstrom that "we did nothing" in the face of evil. I can't imagine a more vivid reinforcement of that lesson than what we're going through now.

    As your wing commander, it occurs to me that I've been blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime. It's been one I neither expected nor deserved.

    Our amazing airmen and their families, the astoundingly supportive community and the successes of Wing One have far outweighed the bad. Just being allowed to be a small part of your lives is a memory that Cheryl and I will cherish forever. But, like all things of great value, such blessings come with equally great costs. I represent this wing to the world, and we let the American people down on my watch.

    With that realization, and the genuine hope that my action will stir even the most apathetic hearts to action, I have decided to volunteer my resignation from this post effective immediately. This request has been accepted. I have also requested, and been approved for, retirement from the United States Air Force. If this sacrifice by Cheryl and me influences just one airman to stand up for what's right the next time they are confronted by immorality, it will have been worth every tear and sleepless night.

    But I do have one last command: Each and every one of you must now give your full allegiance, support and enthusiasm to your new commander. I know that you will forge an even stronger team than the one we were so carefully building.

    It's been the highest honor of my career to serve with the 341st Missile Wing and the Great Falls community. You will always occupy a special place in our hearts.

    Col S.

    Robert W. Stanly II, Colonel, USAF

    Commander, 341st Missile Wing

    Malmstrom AFB, Montana
  2. sprog

    sprog 5-Year Member

    Mar 10, 2009
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    I was a missileer at Minot a little over 10 years ago.

    The Col. seems like a good dude, and I have heard from my buds still on active duty that he is a decent leader. He is taking the rap for an institutional culture that is decades-old.

    He sort-of backhanded his missileers by saying it was due to the "selfishness" of a "few" officers. I don't want to get into details, but the issue is much more complicated than that. The problems at Malmstrom are not new. In that respect, I feel bad for Col. Stanley and the other commanders relieved of duty (there were nine, I think). The Air Force has barely given two thoughts to the ICBM mission since the USSR went away. Wrong place and wrong time for Stanley and his Group/Squadron leadership.

    Now that this came out, some people want to tag a small group of junior officers as the problem. It's a lot deeper, and clearly senior AF leadership (finally) saw that as well. The Wing CC resigned because he was going to be fired. That's what I believe. I nonetheless appreciate some of his words and wish him the best.

    It's tough to distance himself from it, though, and his speech looks like he was trying to do just that. Maybe, as his final act of command, he was being sincere in an attempt to provide some catharsis for those who remain. To allow them to distance themselves from the scandal as they focus on their mission. I hope so.

    I know guys that are on MAJCOM staff working to fix the ICBM culture to benefit both the mission and the crews. I think substantial changes are coming and they will be positive. Plenty of good officers working on it.

    That's the one good thing coming out of this mess.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
  3. Packer

    Packer 5-Year Member

    Feb 11, 2011
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    Nah, the problem couldn't be the leadership.:rolleyes:

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