Leadership: Flying Off The Handlebar

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June 16,2008: Recently, an alarmed U.S. Air Force general spotted a British Royal Air Force pilot, who was serving with an American fighter squadron. This is normal, as each year, hundreds of U.S. and foreign troops serve in each others forces in an exchange program that improves eveyone's understanding of how their allies operate.

The American general went after the British officer for having a "non-regulation" moustache. The Brit was sporting a six inch handlebar, while USAF regulations only allow much more modest upper lip adornment. The British officer stood his ground, pointing out that in such matters, the regulations of the exchange officers country apply, not that of the host nation. After consulting air force lawyers, the American general backed off, and escalation was avoided. Another valuable lesson learned.

 


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