The new Airman’s Manual – not just a mobility checklist item

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Mike Adams
  • 22nd Operations Group Superintendent
Airmen from any location can quickly come together and form a cohesive working unit based on the standardized training they receive. Functional tasks are accomplished safely and effectively because everyone is trained to perform tasks the same way.

We receive training by reviewing technical information and checklist material well in advance of actually performing tasks. That principle applies to wartime, mobility and contingency tasks as well. One of our core documents for ensuring airmen can perform these tasks in such a manner is AFPAM 10-100, Airman's Manual.

I recently had the privilege of augmenting an Air Mobility Command Inspector General Operational Readiness Assessment team. Four units demonstrated their operational readiness by deploying to a combat readiness training center and performing their wartime tasks under simulated combat conditions. I witnessed well-trained Airmen from all across the spectrum of active, guard and reserve forces arrive prepared to fly, fight and win.

However; one of the common shortcomings of a few individuals was a lack of familiarity with the contents of their Airman's Manual. The time to read how to provide a proper S-A-L-U-T-E report is not when opposing forces run past your defensive position toward the squadron operations center. Being well versed in quick-reaction information, like responding to alarm signals, basic first aid and proper mission oriented protective posture configurations, will help improve response times and has the real world potential to save lives.

I'll be the first to admit that I would probably not be able to disassemble, reassemble and function check an M4 without the assistance of a checklist. That's why some of the more successful individuals had their manuals tabbed with page markers for important checklists and information imbedded throughout the manual.

The time they spent will pay dividends down the road. Take time in between and particularly prior to deployments to re-acquaint yourself with the contents and re-familiarize yourself with some of the more common checklists and information you may be required to perform routinely while deployed. You never know when you might be tagged as the short-notice replacement for another Airman.

The Airman's Manual is organized into six sections with an additional critical information checklist section. Lessons learned and improved operating techniques for various combat-related skills have been incorporated in the latest change. Checklist-style task descriptions are located throughout each section and intermixed with more in-depth material for each subject area; however, most quick reference material is located in the last two sections.

Some of the new changes include expanding information on improvised explosive devices, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high-yield explosives defense procedures and equipment, critical heat stress indicators, command and control structure, treatment of enemy prisoners, self-aid/buddy care procedures and the new nerve agent antidote.

Informational updates include deleting battle dress over garments, expanding unexploded ordnance information, and defining casualty transportation. Critical Information Checklists were also updated to address lifesaving skills.

Although we may never have to transition actual contaminated chemical zones, we may be called on to perform self-aid or buddy care on any given day. Being a part of today's expeditionary construct means staying prepared to meet mobility contingency requirements rapidly. Whether you're involved in contributing to your unit's final grade for readiness or deploying downrange to conducting combat operations, don't be the limiting factor in your team's ability to meet its wartime commitments. Know the contents of your Airman's Manual and hit the ground ready to fight, survive and operate. Both you and your wingmen's lives will depend upon your personal level of preparation.