AIR FORCE RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Lights, Camera, ACTION
Getting Back to the Basics
Senior Master Sergeant, USAF
Air University Press
Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center Cataloging Data
Lights, camera, action: getting back to the basics / Bramlett, Leslie
p. ; cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Corporate culture—United States. 2. Basic training (Military education)—United States.
3. United States—Air Force—Enlisted personnel—Attitudes. 4. United States—Air Force—
Standards. 5. Leadership—Military aspects. I. Title.
Opinions, conclusions, and recommendations expressed or implied within are solely those of the author
and do not necessarily represent the views of the Air Force Research Institute, the United States Air Force,
the Department of Defense, or any other US government agency. Cleared for public release: distribution
I dedicate this book to my family, who has sacri-
ficed so much. JaMarco, Jasmine, and Justis, most
of what I have learned about leading younger people
and dealing with their complexities and uniqueness
has come from you. To my wife Tracy, you are truly
the best part of “us.” Finally, I thank God for enabling
me to both accomplish this work and serve in the
United States Air Force.
Air University Press
131 West Shumacher Avenue
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-5962
The quality and character of our enlisted corps have
led to its recognition as the bedrock of our Air Force.
The source of this reputation can be traced to our pro-
fessional and experienced noncommissioned officers
(NCO). This group of experienced NCOs recognizes that
the Air Force has some discrete discipline problems
among the enlisted Airmen which have caused degra-
dation in mission support and adherence to standards.
SMSgt Leslie Bramlett, one of our brightest minds,
identifies weaknesses at the most fundamental level:
failure to maintain the attitudes and behaviors learned
in basic training. Furthermore, he asserts that basic
military training (BMT) teaches the proper lessons—
leadership, traditions, and discipline. Airmen leave
BMT transformed. Then these men and women enter
the “real” Air Force and find a culture which does not
reinforce these lessons. The workplace encourages con-
trary behavior. Individualism is rewarded, and personal
interests far too often outweigh organizational goals.
SMSgt Bramlett has a simple solution (and we know
simple solutions are sometimes the hardest to imple-
ment). He argues for a return to basics, and in this
short exposition he constructs a case for reinvigorating
them. His argument applies to everyone in the Air Force,
and the fact that it comes from the enlisted force should
have great persuasive value.
Chief Master Sergeant, USAF
Command Chief, Air University
About the Author
SMSgt Leslie Bramlett has
served in the United States Air
Force since 1991. His various
assignments as an aerospace
medical service technician and
recruiter have taken him to Il-
linois, Missouri, California,
and Texas. In 2008 he de-
ployed to Joint Task Force-
Bravo in Honduras in support
of US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) opera-
tions. There he was the operations noncommissioned
officer in charge, platoon sergeant, and backup first
sergeant. He served as squadron superintendent for
the 30th Medical Operations Squadron, Vandenberg
AFB, CA, before beginning his current assignment as
squadron superintendent, 59th Surgical Inpatient
Squadron, Lackland AFB, TX, in February 2009.
Sergeant Bramlett has earned a bachelor of science
degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
in workforce education and development, and he
holds two Community College of the Air Force de-
grees in allied health sciences and human resources.
Currently, Sergeant Bramlett is pursuing a master of
science degree in management. He is married to
Tracy Bramlett, and they have one son, JaMarco,
and two daughters, Jasmine and Justis.
9. Col Charles Westenhoff, ed., Military Air-
power: A Revised Digest of Airpower Opinions and
Thoughts (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Press,
March 2007), 234.
10. CMSgt David J. Campanale, “Concepts in
Leadership,” in AU-24, Concepts for Air Force
Leadership, eds. Dr. Richard I. Lester and Dr. A.
Glenn Morton (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University
Press, 2001), 41–42.
11. Unattributed interview with the author.
12. Lt Col James Smith, “Air Force Culture
and Cohesion: Building an Air and Space Force
for the Twenty-First Century,” Air Power Journal
12, no. 3 (Fall 1998): 43, http://www.airpower
13. Maj William C. Thomas, “The Cultural
Identity of the United States Air Force,” Air and
Space Power Journal—Chronicles Online Journal,
30 January 2004, http://www.airpower.maxwell
14. Lt Col Donald R. Baucom, “The Profes-
sional Soldier and the Warrior Spirit,” in AU-24,
Concepts for Air Force Leadership, 21.
15. Col William G. Palmby, Outsourcing the Air
Force Mission: A Strategy for Success, Walker
Paper no. 4 (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University
Press, April 2006), 9.
16. “Service Demographics Offer a Snapshot
of the Force,” Air Force Link, 20 October 2008,
http://w w w.af.mil/news/stor y.asp?id=
17. Palmby, Outsourcing the Air Force Mission,
18. Ibid., 27–29.
19. Unattributed interview with the author.
20. Tim Sanders, The Likability Factor: How
to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s
Dreams (New York: Crown Publishers, 2005).
21. Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, and Charles
Burck, Execution: The Art of Getting Things Done
(New York: Crown Business, 2002), 20.
22. Ibid., 40.
23. Unattributed interview with the author.
24. Janet R. Bednarek, Generations of Chev-
rons: A History of the Enlisted Force (Washington,
DC: AF History and Museums Program, 2004).
25. Mike Thirtle, “Toward Defining Air Force
Leadership,” Air and Space Power Journal 16, no.
4 (Winter 2002): 9–16.
26. Michael P. Noonan and John Hillen, “The
Coming Transformation of the U.S. Military?”
Foreign Policy Research Institute E-notes, 4 Febru-
ary 2002, http://www.fpri.org/enotes/military
27. Gen Norton A. Schwartz, chief of staff, US
Air Force (address, Air Force Association Annual
Convention, Washington, DC, 16 September 2008).
28. Unattributed interviews with the author.
29. Air Force Doctrine Document 1, Air Force
Basic Doctrine, 17 November 2003, 74.
30. AFI 36-2618, Enlisted Force Structure (draft
31. Maj Mark M. Boatner III, Military Customs
and Traditions (New York: D. McKay Co., 1956),
32. CMSgt Bob Vásquez, Heirpower: Eight Basic
Habits of Exceptionally Powerful Lieutenants (Max-
well AFB, AL: Air University Press, 2006), 25.
33. Bossidy, Charan, and Burck, Execution:
The Art of Getting Things Done, 20.
34. CMSAF Rodney J. McKinley, “The Enlisted
Perspective: Blocking and Tackling,” Air Force
Link, 7 July 2008, http://www.af.mil/library/
35. Williamson Murray, “Military Culture Does
Matter,” Foreign Policy Research Institute Wire 7,
no. 2 (January 1999), http://www.militaryconflict