Comprehensive Airmen Fitness--Are you ready to fight tonight?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Eric Carney
  • 7th Airlift Squadron commander
This is a simple question each of us in uniform should be able answer with a resounding 'yes'. When asked about readiness, most of us may think in terms of a mobility folder, a shot record or a set of packed bags. But it is much more significant and it begins with each of us as individuals. We must be mentally, spiritually, socially and physically fit to fight tonight. For those of us with families, it also means we must ensure they are ready to succeed if we are rapidly mobilized. While most of America is looking forward to last minute shopping and the possibility of shortened workdays, the defense personnel, both in and out of uniform, must understand we can never let our individual readiness slip. It is our individual readiness which is absolutely essential to providing the security that much of the world has come to expect.

During natural disasters and crises, it is common to hear about the mobilization of a military unit or the deployment of a unique military capability. But most of us in uniform fail to acknowledge the discussion ends there. There is not another force behind us. When the President of the United States and other senior officials make decisions, they are basing those decisions on capabilities we are charged with providing. They have the confidence in their decisions because our military chain of command and the selfless service of those who have gone before us provide complete confidence. How many of us ever think about what if we were not ready? What options would our nation have, what capabilities would be provided? There is not another line of defense behind us. We are it. Think about your personal readiness against that mosaic for a moment.

In our business, there is not an offseason or a 'get ready' period. We have to be ready to go. We have to be ready to fight tonight! Comprehensive Airman Fitness is the roadmap to help us get there. Throughout history, our military has been asked to give more than most thought possible. In the recent past, during combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, many thought we were doing all we could and would be hard pressed to do anything more. Then in a blink of an eye, we were flying missions in support of Tsunami relief and Hurricane Katrina. Even more recently, this past year, Team McChord experienced surges on top of surges further compounded by earthquake relief in Haiti and a volcano eruption in Iceland. None of these actions would have ever been possible if not for individual readiness.

As we bring 2010 to a close and prepare for 2011, the national security landscape does not provide any indications we will be less busy in the coming year. Whether it is another natural disaster waiting to present itself, the possibility of a terrorist attack or the escalation of tensions between North and South Korea, we have to be ready. I challenge all of us to maintain the constant state of readiness our service demands and if you are not there now. Get ready. We must be ready; mentally, spiritually, socially and physically fit. Our nation depends on each of us and our ability to fight tonight!