In the end, it is YOUR readiness

  • Published
  • By Col. Howard Clark III
  • 439th Airlift Wing
When I left D.C. nearly a year ago, I thought I knew everything there was to know about readiness. After all, it was my job as the Readiness Division Chief to share the Air Force narrative with other services, the Secretary of Defense staff, even Congress. Returning to serve at the wing level as a traditional reservist, my views on readiness have taken on a much more personal feel. Since readiness continues to be the focus at all levels, I thought I’d share those views with you. First and foremost, readiness is a personal responsibility. Leadership can help track events, set up training, and make certain processes more efficient, but each Airman must take ownership of their readiness. In the end, it is YOUR readiness. So, what is readiness? To me, it is a combination of several different elements, the first of which is individual readiness. This is probably the easiest to quantify—you can see it indicated in ARCNet and other systems as green, yellow, and red. It is a combination of shots, physical exams, fitness, annual CBTs, etc. You will probably get the most help with individual readiness as the chain of command chases down “the lists.” Next area is your professional readiness. Where are you on your skill level in your Air Force Speciality Code? Have you completed the appropriate professional military education for your rank? Have you completed Community College of the Air Force, attained a master’s degree or professional certification? Are you involved in the Rising 6, Top 3, Company Grade Officers Council, etc. to build your peer network for support? Finally, have you considered submitting a development plan for formal feedback on your future plans? If the answer to any of these questions is no, maybe, or “I’m not sure.” I encourage you to speak to your supervisor, shirt, commander, or to seek out a mentor. One area rarely discussed is your deployment readiness. If you fill a deployable position or are assigned to one of your unit’s unit tasking codes, it is not enough to excel at your job at home station in a training environment. You need to be ready when and where your country needs you. Since the 1st Reserve Aero Squadron was formed 101 years ago out of the Plattsburgh Camp program, through the founding of the Air Force Reserve in 1948, to today; Reserve Citizen Airmen are a combat-ready force answering our nation’s call. Finally, none of this would be possible without the support of our families and they must be ready too. Ensuring your family has a will and power of attorney, financial planning and knowledge, connection to your Key Spouse(s), base helping agencies, and Military OneSource—these are critical elements of support. Always remember, Airmen don’t serve alone, families serve as well. In the end, your commanders, your family and your nation need you to be ready when the call comes. Here in the front office, our call came when Col. Durham was asked to deploy, while I command the wing until his return. We were ready because we began preparing long ago. So when your call comes, will you be ready? Having seen your drive, determination, and Patriot pride, I know you will!