Foolish tips for Airmen

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Tiffany Dawson
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Staff Judge Advocate
On the First of April each year, countries around the world celebrate April Fool's Day. While not a legal holiday, it is widely recognized and celebrated as a day which tolerates practical jokes, hoaxes and general foolishness. Who doesn't remember beginning the month of April with a good prank played on your brother, or reading a catchy headline in a newspaper that is later revealed as a hoax? A simple search of the internet will bring you a plethora of April Fool's Day trivia, including a list of the top 100 hoaxes of all time.

Such foolishness on April's Fool's Day may be fun. But, in my job as a Staff Judge Advocate, I often see the foolish decisions of Airmen land them in disciplinary trouble. Here is my list of the top 5 foolish things Airmen do to hurt their careers:

1. Abuse of alcohol - drinking excessive amounts contributes to foolish decisions, including DUI, disorderly conduct and other embarrassing or unlawful conduct you wouldn't do while sober.
2. Lying - deceit tarnishes your honor and the trust your leadership has in you. Own up to your mistakes. Any mistake is made far worse by lying about it.
3. Failure to go - you are paid to perform your duties at a given place and time. Show up and on time.
4. Dereliction of duty - do your job to the best of your ability.
5. Financial mismanagement - failing to pay your debts and living outside your means will cause tremendous problems.

Unlike the "April Fool's Day!" remark you may hear offered after a prank pulled on 1 April, Airmen who engage in these foolish acts of misconduct can't erase them with a simple comment. With programs such as the DOS Rollback and Reductions in Force, these foolhardy actions often have career-ending impact. Each of these acts is preventable. To use a term from our wing commander, you have a choice to "live an honorable life." Don't let foolish acts today or any other day unnecessarily impact your career, your family and the Air Force.