Keesler needs to look in mirror before inspection

  • Published
  • By Col. Thomas Bacon
  • 81st Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron commander
Many people are familiar with the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the magical mirror that Snow White's evil step-mother possessed.In the story, this mirror would answer truthfully any question it was asked.

In late October, Keesler personnel will be exposed to a form of the "talking mirror" through a unit compliance inspection. This inspection consist of experts from outside agencies brought in to assess how "fair" we are in observing ourselves (i.e., our programs) and taking the corrective actions needed to be the "fairest of all," or "outstanding" in Air Force parlance.

I anticipate that the results of this inspection will show the tremendous effort of the Keesler team in fulfilling our mission, "Train, Care, Innovate...developing combat power for air, space and cyberspace".

So why use the analogy of a "talking mirror" to illustrate this point?

The mirror represents the self-inspection process that is so vital to the success we anticipate receiving on our compliance inspection. By utilizing the mirror of self-inspection throughout the months and years between inspections, we can self-correct the flaws or weaknesses we discover in our programs and processes. The stronger the self-inspection program, the less surprised we will be when outside agencies tell us the truths they observe in our programs and the more pleased we will be with their feedback.

We can't expect excellence in our unit programs if we don't expect it in ourselves. "Excellence in all we do," starts at the most basic and individual level. How are you at conducting self-inspections? Have you recently reflected on your mental, physical or spiritual well-being?

I have learned the easiest person to fool is myself. I have also found that being honest with myself is sometimes a bitter pill to swallow. It's usually easier to walk away and try to forget the imperfections we see in our character or personal choices than to act on changing our weaknesses into strengths.

Corrective actions usually require work, discipline and time. It may even require us to swallow our pride and seek help from others. But the satisfaction of resolving a personal weakness and seeing the fruit of your effort is hard to beat.

In 1988, the late pop artist Michael Jackson released his iconic single, "Man in the Mirror."

"I'm starting with the man in the mirror...If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change."

This song touched the hearts of millions because of the strength of its message. The positive changes we seek in our military world today can only be accomplished through individuals who see beyond what is, to what should be and make a conscious choice to implement those changes.

As we transition to this current inspection season at Keesler, we should continue to be vigilant in our self-inspection processes at the unit level. We should also enjoy the progress we have made since the last inspections and continue to strive for "excellence in all we do." Also, we should focus on the larger picture to "make the world a better place" by our individual efforts to affect change; first in ourselves, and then in our communities, the military and the United States. It all starts with the person you see in the mirror and their personal choices, attitudes and actions.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who can effect change most of all? You can.