Are you ready?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt Steve Barsalou
  • 6th Security Forces Squadron
Seriously, are you ready? The Air Force of today is significantly different than the Air Force I joined 18 years ago. I can't imagine how different it is for our senior leaders. Part of that difference is that we are a more expeditionary force, a more fit force and a more intelligent force. Today I will focus on the expeditionary aspect.

Are you ready to deploy tomorrow? The answer should be a resounding YES! This is not a new development. We didn't just start deploying. The Air Force has been in the rotation for the 18 years I've been in, and it's not ending anytime soon. Little did we know in August of 1990 with the start of Operation Desert Shield that we were starting to form the expeditionary Air Force we have become.

The transition has been major as we have absorbed serious combat rolls in addition to the flying, fighting and winning we are so well suited to do. The expanded roll we play is just further proof that we need to be ready. If you are just getting the memo you had better get on the bus quickly.

Being ready to deploy isn't just having a packed bag. It isn't always going to be a six month, or longer, notification and it isn't always going to line up with your AEF designation. As I am sure many of you have experienced, things happen that can vault you to the forefront in a moment's notice.

My squadron recently had an Airman hurt in a non-combat related injury while down range and he had to return stateside. The Airman that replaced him had a few days notice and off he went. But you know what? He was ready! He stepped up to the plate, packed his bags, out processed and filled the void. He met his responsibilities to himself, our unit, the wing, the Air Force and most importantly the mission. He was ready to execute and defend freedom; he wanted to be a part of the Global War On Terrorism.

Could you have done the same thing? Do you have the mechanisms at home to be able to leave in a moments notice? Is your spouse prepared to be a single parent for months on end? Are you fully trained in your job?

Are your records squared away? Are you fit to fight? Can you put on your battle rattle and not lose your breath in the process? Most importantly, can you step into a deployed environment and be an immediate asset for your deployed commander? For the most part the only person who can answer these questions is you.

Not being prepared is not an out. You don't get a free pass because you have not prepared your family or you haven't maintained your fitness. The ones who will suffer will be the people you leave behind and the squadron that is so desperately awaiting your arrival. Are you ready? If you are not, you need to get there quickly.

Our children will only know a world with people who want to do bad things to America, America's interests and American people. The line of defense against those people is the US. The American public relies on the Armed Forces to keep it free.

When you signed the dotted line, raised your right hand and repeated, "I will support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic," you verbalized your commitment to deploying when your window opens. When that window opens will you be able to step through?

I ask you, "Are you ready?"