Four ‘readinesses’ to utilize for enlisted success

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Traci Devereaux
  • 81st Force Support Squadron
During my career I have had the opportunity to discuss the enlisted force structure with my classmates in professional military education, co-workers and peers. Now, I have the privilege of teaching it at our NCO professional education courses. I call it a privilege because the enlisted force structure is, in my opinion, the single most important instruction that we can utilize during our careers in the Air Force, whether that career is four years or more than 20. There is so much valuable information, training and opportunities that our leadership provides us to reach our Air Force goals. There are four "readinesses" in the enlisted force structure that are our responsibility to control including being technically, physically, mentally and spiritually ready. Each readiness makes us more confident, resilient and, most of all, mission-ready.

Being technically ready means knowing your job. Usually, the first step after technical school is completing those darn career development courses. Whether your career field has two or 10 CDC volumes, it is your responsibility to accomplish them. Supervisors give each of us the parameters and tools to accomplish CDCs. However, it is up to each of us to use effective time management and get off our butts to study instead of expecting to receive time to complete CDCs during duty hours. Your supervisor should not have to stand over your shoulder to get you to finish your career development course. They have already had the privilege of going through that brutal task themselves.

Being physically ready is imperative for the success of the mission. You need to ask yourself if you can successfully be part of that four-man team to carry a litter which could potentially save someone's life. Each squadron has a fitness program that provides the tools to pass the fitness assessment.
However, it is not exclusively those tools that create a fit Airman. Being fit also requires additional effort from the member to take the responsibility of living a healthy and fit lifestyle. Your supervisor can't pass the test for you and if you feel you are struggling, don't wait until it's too late to ask for help. If, for some reason, you didn't pass your test, hold yourself accountable. Don't be "that guy" and force your wingmen to exert more effort to help you pass the fitness assessment.

Now, are you mentally ready? Do you have your affairs in order? How worried would you be when you deploy if you have not set up a plan to get money to your caregiver? The family care plan is very important to mental readiness. It is not just getting a local person to sign the Air Force Form 357, it takes planning. How is the transfer from short-term caregiver to long-term caregiver going to happen? Do you have the funds to pay for a plane ticket? Do your caregivers actually know what they're getting themselves into? When you have doubts about whether your family is being properly cared for, you will not be mentally in the game while deployed. That lack of mental awareness causes a breakdown in the team and the mission.

Are you spiritually ready? How do you handle stress? This may or may not include religious beliefs and activities. It may just be a simple task of some breathing exercises to reduce stress and allows you to focus. Whatever path you choose for your spiritual readiness have a plan of activities that can help you handle life's tough situations. Remember to always seek help or guidance if you feel you are not able to handle the stressors going on around you. Knowing that you have the three previous parts of readiness in order helps to push us towards being spiritually ready.

It is tough to be in today's Air Force. The cliché is true -- we are doing more with less. With today's economy and reduced recruitment goals, the line outside Lackland's front gate is long and stacked with people more than willing to come in and replace you. They are willing to work harder, take the off-duty time to improve and put those plans in place to make sure they are mission ready. Each of us must take control of our careers, set goals and most of all accomplish those goals. As one of my commanders said "The sad truth is that we are all replaceable and the mission will keep going." Make goals, have the personal responsibility to reach those goals and be the outstanding leader that trains the next generation of leaders.