Airmen Warriors ready to fight

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Airmen Warriors. It is more than some catch phrase. It defines exactly who you are, what you do and how you fit into our expeditionary Air Force of the 21st Century. Right now, between the 45th Space Wing and our mission partners, we have about 100 Airmen deployed across the globe to places like Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. And with upcoming deployments related to AEF 7/8, another 150 or so of our Airmen are scheduled to leave soon.

Deployments, as we know them today, were virtually unheard of for Airmen who came into the service after Vietnam and before Desert Storm and 9/11. Now, every Airman, from every functional area of the Air Force, will probably deploy, possibly even to perform responsibilities previously considered as "Army" or "Marine" in nature. 

Since 9/11, we have learned that in order to do our jobs we have to go to faraway places, some of which are not well established ... some of which are extremely hostile. Expect us to be in for the long haul - our nation and the world are facing grave risks, especially if we allow terrorists and those who support them to flourish. No doubt about it: the Air Force has morphed into an expeditionary, combat-focused service. 

As Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley recently said, every Airman needs to be physically, mentally and spiritually ready to deploy. Many of you will or have received training at other Department of Defense bases, beyond "normal" AF training programs, to further develop your combat skills -- particularly if you perform special deployment functions such as combat convoy duty. 

My most sacred duty as a military commander is to ensure the readiness of those under my command before sending them into harm's way to execute operations. Here at the 45th Space Wing, we continue to do everything possible to help prepare you and your families for upcoming deployments and the sacrifices that come with them. 

Professionals here at Patrick, at our Airman & Family Readiness Center, Chaplain's Office, Medical Clinic, Security Forces, Legal Office, Logistics Readiness Flight and others are working constantly to help our Airmen to deploy with the right skills and preparation. As evidenced by our recent overall performance in the ORI, our hard work to ensure your readiness is paying off - you are obviously highly motivated and well trained! 

These are tough, yet exciting times to serve. Our enemies emerged from the shadows on 9/11 and today we must take the fight to them. If there is anyone not fully ready to deploy at this moment -- physically, mentally or spiritually -- you need to get ready! Maintain your duty and combat skills, health and fitness levels and take the necessary steps to prepare yourself and your loved ones for the road ahead. 

As Airmen Warriors we must stay engaged, adaptive and ready to fight. Go Sharks!