Commentary

May 31, 2013

Deploying on dime demands readiness

Lt. Col. Christopher Colcord
308th Fighter Squadron Commander

Our nation’s readiness has never been tested like it will be in the remainder of the fiscal year. Our Air Force has squadrons standing down and our readiness, despite global tensions being on the rise, will suffer in the coming months. Luke Air Force Base Airmen need to be ready to deploy in support of contingency operations as we may be called upon to augment forces who may be suffering under sequestration.

Luke will find itself largely, but not wholly, unscathed from sequestration in comparison to many fighter wings. Because of this, Luke Airmen’s expertise across almost every Air Force specialty code might be needed to meet real world contingency operations. We need to ensure that even with our limited resources we get quality training in every unit to guarantee we are ready at a moment’s notice. Squadrons might require our senior enlisted supervision in many career fields as fighter squadrons across the combat air forces might find themselves with a very short time frame to deploy. We have North Korea, Syria and Iran as potential hot spots, not to mention our ongoing operations in Afghanistan. With so many fighter squadrons not flying, critical taskings might be impossible to handle by fighter wings without our help.

It is very possible that in the coming months we will be called on to spin up units deploying, provide additional manpower and supervision, and even to fill cockpits as squadrons deploy in the event of a crisis. Logistics readiness Airmen could easily be called upon to augment wings spinning up for combat operations where a large number of people will be required to deploy with a very limited amount of time to do so.
Maintenance expertise might be required to help wings spin-up where squadrons have been grounded for months. Pilots could easily find themselves asked to deploy with squadrons that have been grounded and provide their instructor expertise for upgrades, or just to update currencies for pilots who haven’t flown for quite some time.

As Airmen we need to be ready to deploy and augment where we might be needed should our skills be required to bolster our nation’s readiness. It is every Airman’s duty to check their medical readiness, their immunizations, overdue labs, and get their health and dental exams completed on time to help out. It’s the least we can do to help out our fellow Airmen who might not be ready due to fiscal constraints, through no fault of their own. Regardless of our air expeditionary force bands, we need to make sure our Air Force can count on us when we are called upon.




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