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