The 1.0 Rule

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Darryl Burke
  • 82nd Training Wing
Alexander the Great is one of the best-known figures in history. His conquests shaped the modern world, and his military genius is legendary.

Cleitus, on the other hand, is not so well known--but Alexander will not become "the Great" without him.

It is 334 B.C., and the 22-year-old Macedonian king and his small force of cavalry are surrounded by Persian forces at the Battle of the Granicus River. The Persian noble Spithridates smashes his battle-axe into Alexander's helmet, momentarily stunning the young king.

As Spithridates readies a killing blow, the world as we know it hangs in the balance. If Alexander dies, Greek civilization never spreads across the known world to influence the Roman Empire; the seeds of the European Enlightenment are never sown; and our country, with its Greek-rooted ideals of freedom and democracy, is never born.

But before Spithridates can swing his axe, he is speared to death by the soldier Cleitus, and Alexander survives his brush with death.

The story of Cleitus illustrates something I call "The 1.0 Rule."

The 1.0 Rule says that every member of the organization has a full measure of value: 1.0. There are no "1.1 Airmen" and no ".99 Airmen"--no one is a little more important or a little less important. We're all 1.0 Airmen.

We have different roles and responsibilities, but we are each equally valuable in our sphere. As king, Alexander's role was to lead his force to victory. As a soldier, Cleitus' role was to defend his king. Alexander lived up to his full measure of value only because Cleitus first lived up to his.

None of us--regardless of rank, position, duty title or rating--can succeed without every other member of the team. No matter how smart or how talented, no one person can get the mission done alone.

The 1.0 Rule applies to groups, too. However special or elite we may think we are, the fact remains that no clique, special interest group or informal "insider" network can accomplish the training mission on its own.

Commanders depend on chiefs, first sergeants and civilian leaders, who depend on instructors, first-line supervisors and military training leaders. They, in turn, depend on security forces, personnelists, civil engineers and medics. Our interdependence holds true in any direction, up the chain or down--we rely on each other.

And we all depend on the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines we train, because without their willingness to learn and determination to succeed, we all fail.

The 1.0 Rule is a reminder that none of us is worth more than any other. Colonel or Airman, officer or enlisted, T-rated instructor or first-day student--we each carry a full measure of value and we are each vital to the mission. There is no place for elitism, favoritism or snobbery in our Air Force.

The young Macedonian king led his forces to victory at the Granicus River and went on to conquer much of the world. But if not for the value of a simple soldier named Cleitus, Alexander would never have become "the Great," and the world as we know it would not exist.