Ready for this jelly

Col. Charles R. Henderson, official photo, U.S. Air Force

Col. Charles R. Henderson, official photo, U.S. Air Force

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – This week kicked off the 75th anniversary celebration of the establishment of Travis Air Force Base.

Looking back 75 years, specifically on this day, February 9, 1943, the Battle of Guadalcanal had been won and the Allies claimed their victory. When the U.S. Marines landed on the island in 1942, they commenced the first major Allied offensive against Japanese-held positions in the Pacific. Were those Marines ready?

They trained for months leading up to those combat operations, yet suffered heavy losses securing the island. While the United States’ losses did not compare to the tens of thousands of Japanese who were lost, they were still in the thousands. Were those American service members’ families ready for the challenges that life had dealt them? 

Our Air Force Chief of Staff has delivered a very clear message that hasn’t wavered during his tenure: Revitalizing squadrons—they are the core fighting unit of our Air Force, strengthening joint leaders and teams—it’s critical to ensuring mission success throughout the spectrum of conflict and enhancing multi-domain command and control—the superiority we rely on can only be sustained by innovation in new and dramatically effective ways.  He has challenged us to increase our full spectrum readiness and lethality in order to remain the world’s preeminent air, space and cyberspace force. 

For months now, you have been working overtime to ensure that your equipment is appropriate for your mission. You are versed and proficient in employing your equipment in the execution of your mission and you are a ready and agile force. You have ensured that you are personally ready—mentally, physically, socially and spiritually. Your mind, body and spirit are in top shape and your unit is firing on all cylinders. What about your family? Have you thought about their readiness? Have you taken care of them, your fifth pillar, and their individual four pillars? 

We are accustomed to having our wills up to date as we head out on deployment. Keep in mind it is also imperative that you think more broadly about your family readiness as you prep yourself. Yes, updating your virtual record emergency data and will is important, but what about any singularly held bank or investment accounts, vehicle payments or other responsibilities?  Does your spouse, significant other, parent or other designee know your passwords, have joint interest in any of your belongings or assets or a power of attorney that gives them control? Do they know of your desires should you not return?  These aspects of preparation are all part of maintaining a fully capable and ready force.

World War II was an important time as Fairfield-Suisun Army Airfield stood up and became the gateway to the pacific, enabling combat operations in a critical theater during this time of conflict. Just as those Army Air Corps Airmen were ready, so, too, are you.  I’m confident that we are the preeminent air, space and cyberspace force in the world thanks to you.  I care about your readiness for conflict, your personal resiliency, your safe return and your families and loved ones.  Enjoy your 75th, Team Travis.