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February Chief's Perspective

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Dale Kirkham, the 169th Operations Group superintendant, at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., April 4, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Megan Floyd)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Dale Kirkham, the 169th Operations Group superintendant, at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., April 4, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Megan Floyd)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

Readiness is the focus of our regular scheduled drills (RSDs) and training cycles these days. But we should always be ready for a deployment or an activation to carry out our state and federal missions. There are five main areas you need to direct your focus.

First is to complete our wing’s current pre-deployment and full spectrum readiness requirements. This is the easy one because our Unit Training and Deployment Managers (UTM/UDM) identify and schedule us for these requirements and all we need to do is attend or check them off as instructed. You can help this process by keeping your issued mobility gear and Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear accounted for and serviceable.

Second is remaining proficient in your Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) training. Are you able to do your job to support the mission? Are you making the effort to complete your Career Development Courses (CDCs) on time? Look for opportunities to receive additional hands-on training during your time on base and keep up with your recurring training. If you feel that you need more training, speak to your supervisor. Be proactive. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our training so that our wing can successfully perform its mission.

Third is maintaining physical and mental readiness. Keeping in shape to meet or exceed USAF fitness standards is a regular part of our job. But staying in shape mentally is equally as important. This can be accomplished by taking time for your family, friends and yourself. Deal with stress in a positive way and seek help when you or someone you know is in need. There are many resources on base and in the community that can help.

Fourth is family readiness. Leaving your loved ones for an extended period of time is hard enough, but poor planning will compound this issue. Do you have a power of attorney, a personal will and Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance? Does your family have contact information for the Family Readiness office, Chaplains office, unit orderly room, supervisor, etc.?  Having a plan eases the stress experienced by your family during a deployment or activation.

 

Fifth is financial readiness. As you probably already know, Congress has not been successful in passing a budget for the federal government and a Continuing Resolution (CR) has been extended to February 8, 2018. There are many people facing furlough that may cause an interruption in their pay check. Creating a savings that could carry you and your family through ninety days of expenses is an important step towards financial responsibility. It’s important to remember that often times, when you start activation orders, you will experience a delay in receiving your first paycheck. Be financially prepared and don’t leave your family in a bind. 

This drill weekend, we will be qualifying with our primary weapons, completing rodeo training and operating in MOPP 4; remember to stay focused on readiness, training and the mission. Take care of yourself, your family and your fellow Airmen.