A good wingman can help avoid bad outcomes

  • Published
  • By Maj Robin Hill
  • 71st Logistics Readiness Squadron
At his 80th birthday party an old gentleman remarked "if I knew I was going to live this long I would have sure taken better care of myself when I was younger."
When I was on the high school basketball team my coach would always say "guys, you play the way you practice." He made sure we treated every practice as if it were an actual game. He was right. Busted plays in practice equaled busted plays in games. The lesson he taught all of us was The Game is Always On. This lesson is especially true today for the men and women of our Armed Forces. It's imperative that we maintain our high level of training and readiness on a daily basis. The price for failure during a real world event is too high. When we exercise our various competencies we must always be in game time mode. We simply can't afford to just go through the motions. Today, we have men and women deployed throughout the world successfully combating terrorism and utilizing the skills they learned or sharpened while here at the 71st FTW. When you speak to these expeditionary warriors they all say the same thing, "remember your training."
We have more than 13 exercises a year at Vance AFB. These exercises test every aspect of our abilities to be successful in many different cases. Every member of Team Vance plays a vital role during these exercises and therefore we must execute each one as if it was the "real deal." Practicing hard guarantees good results. I recently spoke to a commander whose unit garnered an "Outstanding" during their Operation Readiness Inspection. I asked what the key to their success was. He replied, "we prepare for an ORI everyday whether one's scheduled or not."
Most of us don't know the specific time we'll be called upon to "check in." Just like the old man wishing he'd prepared himself to be 80, we should prepare ourselves daily to be called on tomorrow. Are you ready to get into the game? Do you have your updated Will finished? Do you have your Power of Attorney ready for execution? Have you recently looked at your medical and dental records? If an inspector reviewed your unit today what would he say? I encourage you to show up to work ready every day and execute every exercise like there was an ORI tomorrow. Remember, the Game Is Always On.