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NEWS | July 15, 2014

JBLE Airmen encouraged to maintain proper readiness

By Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James recently stressed the importance of improving U.S. Air Force readiness while addressing the Defense Writers Group. She also commented on appropriately balancing the readiness of the force as part of her three top three priorities.

In an effort to ensure Langley Air Force Base Airmen are always prepared to be called upon at a moment's notice, unit deployment managers continuously monitor and assist with all matters relating to unit members' readiness.

Although some requirements for deployment may be location specific, U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Shaw, 633rd Security Forces unit deployment manager, said there are steps Airmen can take to maintain readiness.

Part of being ready to deploy is meeting certain medical requirements. Shaw said Airmen can keep track of their wellness and Individual Medical Readiness status to ensure overall good health. The IMR status allows commanders, at any given time, to see how many of their personnel are medically healthy and fit to deploy.

There are six elements that contribute to a person's medical readiness status.

1) Periodic Health Assessment

2) No Deployment Limiting Conditions

3) Dental Readiness

4) Immunization Status

5) Medical Readiness Laboratory Tests

6) Individual Medical Equipment

Each element is assigned a color based on the status of the requirement. Any item which is current appears in green. Items that are due appear in yellow and overdue items show red. Deployment limiting medical profiles will also make an Airman's IMR show red.

"Keep your UDM informed of medical and physical readiness and remain fit and healthy as best you can," Shaw said. "This ensures you're able to remain postured to be worldwide deployable. If there are any issues, let your UDM know so they can anticipate change. Keeping them in the loop in advance helps to have someone tasked for the mission earlier and avoids shortfalls."

Shaw said Airmen can also prepare their families for a deployment by having a current will and making sure all documents are updated, including a family care plan.

"[Airmen should] make sure their family is ready for a deployment by talking to them and sharing future plans," said Shaw. "If spouses and children understand why you have to go, the transition will be easier. A strong family bond will make it through a deployment."
In addition to paying special attention to their health status and family plans, Shaw encourages Airmen keep a "go bag" ready.

"I recommend Airmen keep a mobility bag ready if they're able to go through their UDM with a checklist of all items," said Shaw. "Doing so ensures a quick turnaround if called to deploy short-notice, particularly if they're in their deployment band and are a last minute replacement. Proper readiness ensures we stay healthy, ready to deploy and can be called upon when the Air Force tasks us."

Mobility bags consist of items needed for a deployed environment. Shaw advises in addition to consulting their UDM, Airmen keep items such undergarments and four sets uniforms, physical training gear and cold weather gear packed in their mobility bag. It is also recommended to include a month-long supply of personal hygiene items such as shampoo, shaving equipment and toothpaste.

Shaw continued to encourage Airmen to maintain their readiness to support the mission.

"It is important to maintain your deployment and readiness to complete any mission the Air Force asks of us," said Shaw. "If they're not completed, the unit may not be able to complete their wartime tasking.

James stressed that her job is to ensure the Air Force is prepared to answer the nation's call, today or in the future.

"My overall job ... is to train, to equip and to organize the Air Force so that we can help the nation respond to whatever contingency we're asked to respond to in what is still a very, very dangerous world," James said. "It's to prepare the Air Force today for that, as well to make sure that we're on the path to do that 20 and 30 years from now."