State of readiness more than state of mind

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Phil Campbell
  • 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Frequent changes in the global environment require us to maintain a constant state of readiness. This concept has been expressed by various senior military leaders for years during my career; it is even written into our Air Force Instructions.

Why should we maintain readiness? Maintaining a state of readiness must become a way of life to ensure we are able to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Recently, senior leadership within the Air Force decided that no-notice inspections would become the standard for the future. Many may not understand the logic behind this critical change in direction. No-notice inspections force units and Airmen to comply with established guidelines at all times.

No-notice inspections were common practice under Strategic Air Command. During my first sixteen years as a B-52 crew chief, I participated in several Operational Readiness Inspections, Nuclear Surety Inspections and Emergency War Order support. The Air Force geared these inspections toward enhancing the Wing's ability to respond to a nuclear threat from either China or Soviet Union.

Early in my career I learned "Maintenance 101" under the supervision and training of Tech. Sgt. Randy Stubbs. Sergeant Stubbs was an "old school" maintenance supervisor who believed in hands-on training, especially for newly assigned Airmen. He taught me that being able to do all facets of my job would help me grow as a young maintenance technician. During my first ORI, Sergeant Stubbs provided the background on this mission. I can still recall his words, "Our focus is deterrence". After fininshing inspections and operational checks, the aircrew arrived at the aircraft. Sergeant Stubbs explained to them I was in upgrade training and that this was my very first aircraft generation -"so take it slow." As the aircrew went through the various checks, I wondered if I would be able to perform these duties for four years. Well, let's just say I excelled because of the training provided by Sergeant Stubbs, my first supervisor.

On April 16, the 22nd Air Refueling Wing showed its readiness during the generation of mission-capable aircraft on station. The stampede was the result of countless hours of preparation and planning by various agencies throughout the entire wing. Active duty and Reserve maintenance workers and aircrew projected air power as the world's premier KC-135 Wing. As the 12 aircraft taxied onto the active runway, I recalled my very first aircraft generation and military readiness experience. There's something about a large formation of mission ready aircraft that enhances the pride of all maintenance Airmen.

In a world of change, we cannot predict what the future holds for us. However, we can maintain a constant state of readiness in both our personal and professional lives.