Are you ready?

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- As a member of the United States military, we are always told to be ready at all times in case the order to deploy is given. This concept is understood by most personnel as we base almost all of our training and preparation around the eventuality of going off to war. A great example of this concept can be seen by all the hard work that has gone into the preparation for our inspection in September. While this inspection may be a showcase of the 127th Wing's skills, how does all this play into your own career? Have you taken the necessary steps to ensure that you, as a person, are progressing along the right path in order to reach your own goals? I would like to discuss three distinct areas that seem to derail Airmen more often than not which potentially hold them back from achieving their military goals: education, physical fitness, and medical readiness.  So I ask you again, are you ready?

Education can be summed up into two areas, military and civilian. I can't tell you how many times I have seen someone miss an opportunity for promotion because they hadn't completed their Career Development Course (CDC) or Professional Military Education (PME). In order to maximize your potential, it must be a priority for you to first and foremost complete your CDCs and PME ahead of any other civilian education.  After that, your CCAF degree should take the next highest priority. Your CCAF degree is now held in very high regard, the likes of which we have not seen before. Starting 1 October 2015, it is a mandatory requirement if you wish to make the ranks of E-8 or E-9. Finally, while not mandatory, completing your Bachelors or Masters degrees can go a long way in terms of making you a well-rounded and complete airman. 

Physical fitness is a hot topic these days that has raised a few eyebrows and always seems to be on the minds of many of our airman. While the PFT may not be a favorite activity for some, the bottom line is that it's not going away anytime soon. Without passing your yearly fitness assessment, you are not eligible for promotion and could potentially be eliminated from military service. Airmen must make every effort to change the current culture and embrace physical fitness not as a punishment, but as a way to make you a better person, both physically and mentally. Our own 127th Wing Commander, Brigadier General John Slocum, has stated, "Every airman has direct control over two things in their career; PME and physical fitness."  Don't let either one sideline your plans for future success.

Finally, let's discuss medical readiness. As a former Unit Deployment Manager, I have seen the statistics with regard to unit medical readiness and the challenges we face in keeping our folks in "The Green".  All Airmen should make it a habit to check their ASIMS printout at least monthly by logging into the AF Portal and scrolling down to the medical readiness area. From there they can view their own medical and dental data, ensuring that any overdue or delinquent data is noted for them to correct. This one small act can make an enormous impact on our Wing's readiness statistics, increasing our ability to meet current wartime tasking requirements while showcasing your own ability to maintain a constant state of readiness.

This drill weekend, I challenge all of you to take a look at these three topics and ask yourself, have I done everything necessary in order to reach my goals. You alone have the biggest impact on determining how far your career progresses. By ensuring that you have taken care of all necessary requirements makes it that much easier on leadership to help ensure your career progresses as far as possible thus making it a win-win situation for all.

Are you Ready?