Are you ready?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Norman Peck
  • 8th Operations Group
It's Saturday morning at Kunsan Air Base and you're sleeping soundly after an enjoyable evening at the International Cultural Village. 

At 5:30 a.m. you are awakened by an abrupt knock on your door. A loud voice is urgently shouting "Recall condition 1, report to duty immediately in MOPP level 0. This is not an exercise." You grudgingly acknowledge and turn on the Commander's Access Channel as you race to get ready. 

The reality of war sets in quickly. You try to concentrate on what you need to do at work, but you are distracted with a myriad of thoughts. 

"Great ... I am going to have four new room-mates, more MREs and more twelve-hour days. So much for the cultural tour this weekend," you think to yourself. 

"Are things okay at home? What about my family? What if I'm injured? What if I have to actually kill someone? What if I am the one to die?" The stress of normal life at Kunsan is now compounded by the stark realities of war. The question is "are you really ready"? 

Being ready involves many things. According to Air Force Instruction 36-2618 we must be technically, physically, mentally and spiritually ready to accomplish our mission. It is imperative for us to be ready in all regards. Unfortunately, we often overlook the part about being spiritually ready. Air Force Instruction 36-2618 defines spiritual readiness as "the development of those personal qualities needed to help a person through times of stress, hardship, and tragedy." It goes on to say "spiritual readiness may or may not include religious activities." Spiritual readiness is a key component of our military readiness because it enhances our ability to cope with adversity and stress. 

Stress is inherent to military life, even during peacetime. The very nature of our business implies stress, hardship, impending tragedies, and separation from family and friends. It is reasonable to expect significantly more stress, hardship and tragedy during war. Living space, working conditions, duty hours, meals, people's attitudes and emotions, fear of injury or death, concern for family and loved ones left behind, and the mental/emotional impact of being the one to pull the trigger are only a few of the stressors that one may have to cope with during war. Being ready in peacetime will help us maintain our readiness and ability to function during conflict. 

The Air Force recognizes the importance of being spiritually ready and in fact requires us to be spiritually ready to accomplish the mission. It is important to note that being ready requires proactive action on our part. Foxhole spirituality during war is not the answer. We must be ready at all times so we can remain focused on the mission at hand. 

Are you truly ready if the recall were to happen today? Are you prepared to cope with the stress, hardship, and tragedy of war? There is no better time than the present to evaluate your spiritual readiness. It is not about religion. It is about being ready to accomplish the mission no matter what happens. Take a moment to reflect on your spiritual readiness and contact a Chaplain today. They are ready, willing and able to support everyone regardless of one's personal beliefs. Chaplains are here to serve you as an integral part of our overall military readiness. Let's hear it for the Chaplains.