By Col. Trae Watkins
19th Mission Support Group commander
Deployment Readiness...as Air Force members, we are always ready to deploy, but I’d like to take a moment and talk about Holiday Readiness…something some of us military members forget to prepare for (yes, I am guilty of neglecting this one until the last minute as well.) We have just passed Thanksgiving and the holiday season is here…are you ready? I am not talking about your holiday shopping (although it wouldn’t hurt me to get a jump on that). I am talking about things that are even more basic and important! Here are a few things to help you with your Holiday Readiness.
BE A WINGMAN
Sounds easy right? I wish! Sorry if you were looking for something prophetic, this isn’t; however, it is critical to holiday readiness and success. These are things we all know, but in the holiday rush we oftentimes forget. I’ll admit I have fallen victim to a lack of Holiday Readiness…writing this article has made me start working on it.
These four steps are not distinct and have a tendency to run together so I’ll talk about them in a few general terms.
BE SMART. We all tend to lean forward in these instances — don’t we? Take the necessary time and do not take unnecessary risks. For example, if the weather is bad don’t push the limits. If you’re going to a holiday gathering, plan accordingly. You are way too valuable to us, your family and the United States Air Force. Give yourself ample time and maneuverability to make the right choice…whether it’s going to mom’s back home for the holidays or to the grocery store. A big part of being smart is being prepared.
BE PREPARED. A large part of any type of readiness is preparation. We all go through the deployment prep getting ready to go down range. Holiday Readiness is no different. Preparation will make the deployment or the holidays go smoothly. The obvious thing for the Holiday Readiness to-do list is prepping your car for the Nov/Dec weather change (we are starting to feel that here at The Rock as the temp’s are dropping). Everything from an oil change to the tread on your tires is essential to local and distance travel plans. But don’t forget about the internal aspects of Holiday Readiness as well as other external aspects of preparation. Both are extremely important.
BE AWARE. I’ve been accused of not being the most perceptive person around so I have to really work on this one. Being aware of your surrounding is the obvious part here. If you are going to the beach this season in an unfamiliar locale, stay alert of your environment and cognizant of potential issues. This is ingrained in us as AF members, but the tougher portion of being aware is the internal piece. We’ve all heard the holiday season is tough for some folks. Some of us will have to work and will be away from our loved ones. It is not easy. BE AWARE of what is going on with you—sounds easy, but it isn’t. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself… be it physically, emotionally, socially, or spiritually. We all cope differently and need different things. You know what works for you ensure you use it. The great thing about our AF family is just that--we are a family. When you raised your hand to become a part of the AF institution you took on a larger role. Part of every single one of our responsibilities is to BE A WINGMAN to all AF Airmen (big A — civilians, service members, and families).
BE A WINGMAN. This one might be the easiest, or not. I am a firm believer that this is one of the things that make us the greatest and most feared AF in the world. It is because we are about each other. It is easy to care when we are at a gathering or visiting someone who obviously is ill. When it is tough and when we show our mettle is when we know it would be “easy” to walk away and no one would know. There are numerous examples of when our brother or sister Airmen make that questionable choice that “looks cool”, but could put him/her in danger. It is not the easy call, everyone makes those, it is the tough call. During the holidays there will be numerous opportunities for us to BE A WINGMAN. The easy part is that Holiday Readiness is just an extension of our everyday AF Readiness. Being a Wingman is second nature to Airmen.
Holiday Readiness is applying many of the same principles we use day-to-day as Airmen and much like Deployment Readiness. It never fails that you will be there scrambling to get those last-second things done at some point in the coming month or so. Therefore, remember the key to success in all readiness can be summed up in those Bs: Be Smart, Be Prepare, Be Aware, and Be a Wingman!
Thanks for what you do every day…enjoy the season!