Illinois National Guard

7 Oct 2016
Public Affairs Office
Always Ready

A part of the National Guard mantra that we should all take to heart, “Always Ready,” is an integral aspect of the Illinois National Guard Strategic Master Plan.  ILNG goal number one is all about enhancing unit readiness. Our individual actions can greatly determine whether or not we meet the personnel and training readiness objectives for the state.  Your individual readiness actions should encompass being physically fit, medically ready, trained and properly equipped.

Being physically fit will not only help us pass our fitness testing requirements but will lead to a healthier life and what we should all be concerned with - mission success.  Whether you stay in a hotel room or a tent we all know the deployed environment will offer physically challenging jobs with long hours and little sleep, not to mention the increased stress levels.  Studies have proven that we are less likely to be injured while performing manual labor tasks if we maintain a routine physical fitness schedule.  Regular fitness training will also improve your mental health and mood, contributing to stress reduction.  Good physical fitness also means less illness, which leads into our next topic, medical readiness.

We are required to report our medical readiness by informing the military medical professionals about any serious health conditions we have been diagnosed with or medications we are currently prescribed.  That information enables our leadership to properly code us for mission readiness.  Don’t forget your dental appointments.  Dental fitness classifications are used to help commanders estimate how many Soldiers or Airmen are likely to require dental treatment before or during a deployment.  We also need one of my least favorite medical requirements, immunizations.  The most important thing to remember about shots is that you can get credit for the immunizations you receive through your primary care physician or at the local Walgreens.  Just bring the documentation to your next scheduled duty period.

As busy as our social lives can be, it really is important to follow the yearly drill schedule.  Attending the Regularly Scheduled Drill (RSD), formerly known as Unit Training Assembly, will help your unit leadership provide you the much needed mission training skills you require.  Range times and training flights can be incredibly difficult to schedule and missing one can be very difficult to make up.  Annual training periods also allow the units to schedule mass training events and exercises that are not easy to duplicate if you reschedule your training dates.  While most of the training we receive deals with our duty related skills, other professional development courses can improve our leadership abilities.  So don’t forget to sign up for those Professional Military Education courses.

One of the last areas that you can contribute to is being properly equipped.  I’m not suggesting to purchase your own Howitzer or C-130 aircraft.  What I am talking about are your uniforms and other personal duty related items that are issued to you.  Proper care and maintenance of these items will ensure that you are ready for duty whenever the call goes out.

If we all do our part, we can increase overall readiness throughout the state and help meet or even exceed our strategic goals.  It takes every Soldier and Airman to be “Always Ready” so that we can live up to the second part of our mantra, “Always There.”