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Ready for war

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Are you ready to go to war? As Air Force members, we should all be prepared to deploy and serve in a combat zone. But are you totally ready? Are you physically, medically and mentally prepared and ready to serve in the capacity your country expects of you?

In the Air Force, we're expected to maintain certain physical standards to be able to perform in combat. Passing your physical training assessment is the minimum, but many professions require more. We all know that carrying heavy loads, wearing body armor, and being able to run if needed, are important. This is physical readiness.

Likewise, being medically ready requires being free of any medical or dental condition that will prevent you from performing at the physical aptitude required for your job. It also includes having your required medications and being appropriately immunized against diseases.

Being mentally ready includes not only being free of the effects of any mental illness, such as depression, but being resilient enough to endure the hardships of deployment and separation from your family. It also should include being sure family is prepared for the period of separation and will be able to function effectively while you are gone. No one's mind can be fully focused on the job when concerns for the well-being of the family are present.

I would like to talk of one additional area in which you need to be prepared. Are you spiritually prepared? This doesn't necessarily need to involve religion, but it may for many people. As service members we need to be prepared to see the horrors of the affects of war, without losing our belief in what is right. We need to be ready to face the fact we may be called upon to give the ultimate sacrifice that many of our fellow Airmen have already given.

Being spiritually ready means understanding the possibility that service may cost you your life. In my opinion, this requires a belief in something more important than our own existence, such as a belief in God or at least a belief in a principle, such as freedom or our constitutional form of government, which is greater than our own existence. All of us need to think about this and be able to find this greater purpose to our life to be truly ready to go to war.

What are you willing to risk your life for? Are you truly ready?