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Strive to be ready

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Readiness and training go hand-in-hand. Every branch of the service has its own definition or checklist defining what "ready" means.

A proactive approach to readiness and training applies to all aspects of leadership. The U.S. Marine Corps mantra of "Every Marine a Rifleman" is a model worth emulating. It requires every Marine to be trained, prepared, and ready for any incident. When a Marine goes down, the next Marine is there to pick up the void. It is highly efficient and has been working for hundreds of years.

Setting training goals for your work section will give your unit direction. Leaders shouldn't be the only ones setting training goals. The leader should guide the discussion, listen to the Airmen and determine what areas are weak and should be focused on. Once areas of concern are identified, they should be prioritized so the most important issues are accomplished first. Lastly, post the goals for all to see.

Every Airman needs to self-assessĀ and should not give up the passion for learning new skill sets that will increase their chances for success. We cannot rely solely on computer-based training to cover the actual actions of doing a task. Never be satisfied with someone else determining if you or your Airmen are ready. You may be prepared but no one is ever 100 percent "ready."

Mentorship is also an integral part of the readiness preparation. Every leader has to ensure they are taking time with their subordinates and making themselves available at every opportunity to pass on critical information and knowledge. When mentoring is conducted properly, it will inevitably translate into strong team building. Whether it's done at the one-on-one level or at a group level such as a squad, flight or unit, mentoring is vital in today's Air Force.

The bottom line is our Air Force, in this day and age cannot rely solely on checklists or someone telling its Airmen when they are ready, whether it's for in-garrison or deployment operations.

The next time you are tasked with training, whether it is ancillary or just-in-time training, take it seriously and treat it as if your life depends on it. Keeping this mindset will pay off when it really counts and could possibly keep you or a fellow Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine out of harm's way.