Readiness -- it's a personal issue

  • Published
  • By Col. Otha L. Solomon Jr.
  • 71st Medical Group commander
Are you prepared to do your job in order to accomplish mission objectives? Can your coworkers and commander depend on you to get the job done? These are a few questions we need to ask ourselves each and everyday.

Being prepared for the rigors of deployment in a new environment is paramount. Individual readiness keeps our human-weapon system one to reckon with. Being an expert in your field is the ultimate goal, but can you perform your duties in an austere environment?

There are several components of readiness that I would like to address.

Maintain competency in your respective career field to ensure mission readiness. Competency includes identifying individual training requirements and participating in programs that meet these needs. Know your job and do it well.

Become familiar with local threats and the rules of the road. Beware of the risks in your environment. Prevention is the key. Complacency is the enemy. Practice good Operational Risk Management.

Currency in immunizations will protect you against biological threat agents. Ensure that you receive timely immunizations and follow post inoculation instructions. This includes getting the flu vaccination. 

Utilize individual protective equipment and clothing such as respirators, hats, helmets, gloves and protective eye gear. Wear them in the appropriate setting. Good physical fitness will enhance your ability to perform and survive when required to don the chemical warfare ensemble.

Physical endurance is a force multiplier. Achieve and maintain a physically active lifestyle. Exercise three to four times a week. Don't be a couch potato or victim of inactivity. Excessive weight gain can lead to obesity, hypertension, diabetes and other chronic illnesses that are preventable. 

Incorporate physical training exercises that enhance cardiovascular and muscular strength, flexibility, agility and endurance. A healthy and fit Airman is one who is conscious of healthy eating habits. Eat foods to maximize performance, maintain long-term good health and sustain morale. Eat right to maintain a balanced diet. Don't forget to drink lots of water.

Maintaining good oral and body hygiene is a must. Oral health is a reflection of your overall health. During stressful events; oral hygiene for many Airmen becomes a low priority. This practice could result in a dental emergency. Daily brushing and flossing can minimize the need for emergency dental care.

Good body hygiene can minimize the risk of contracting dermatological disease and conditions. Frequent hand washing is one of our best defenses in the spread of disease. Just do it!

There are four dimensions of wellness that help to keep us grounded. Be aware of the importance of emotional, social, physical and spiritual wellness. They are all interrelated and can affect our overall physical and mental well-being. Maintaining a balance is critical. Take care of yourself -- the mission depends on you.

Are you ready to fly, fight and win?