Deploying Warrior Airmen

PETERSON AFB, Colo. -- One of the key missions of the 21st Space Wing is to deploy Warrior Airmen. In fact, there are currently 230 members from the wing and more than 300 members from Peterson deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Prior to assuming command of the 21st Space Wing, while deployed in the CENTCOM Area of Responsibility, I had the privilege of serving alongside many of these men and women and can attest first hand to their monumental contributions in fulfilling the wing's mission.

However, it is important to understand that every member of the 21st Space Wing must be prepared to deploy in support of our nation's defense. To this end, my expectation is that every member of the 21st Space Wing understands the Air Force's overarching deployment concept as well as the inherent individual responsibilities that come with being deployment ready.

Since October 1999, the Air Force has executed a deployment battle rhythm in the form of the Air and Space Expeditionary Force concept. This concept was, and still is, designed to deliver a versatile mix of Air and Space power to the right place, at the right time, to support a combatant commander's mission needs. This tailored approach to meeting the needs of the warfighter has consistently delivered the range, speed, flexibility and precision necessary while also providing our Airmen with as much stability as possible.

So what does this mean to members of the 21st Space Wing? Warrior Airmen must have an appreciation for the inherent responsibilities that make an individual "deployment ready."

Knowing the answer to the following questions is just a starting point: What AEF bucket are you assigned to? When are you eligible to deploy? What actions are necessary to get ready for deployment? Are you up to date on your immunizations, PHAs, dental appointments and gas mask inserts? Moreover, ensuring you maintain a high level of physical fitness and ensuring your loved ones are taken care of in your absence are vital as well.

This is not an all-inclusive list by any means. My goal is to deploy Warrior Airmen that are highly trained, properly equipped, and well prepared to meet the demanding requirements of their deployment, and then shake their hand at the airport when they return home safely.

Another key aspect is the Air Force priority of taking care of the families that remain at home. This wing is committed to providing exceptional care for your families while you are deployed. Not only should supervisors remain in contact with their deployed members, they should also check in with their families and make sure they are being taken care of. As part of this, I encourage the families of deployed members to attend the monthly Deployed Families Dinner held at the Base Chapel, in which the wing provides a free dinner, entertainment for the children and some great prizes.

Also, on Aug. 1, all Peterson deployed families are invited to attend a special tour of the new Peterson commissary, which opens to the general public Aug. 3.

I challenge every individual, supervisor, and commander to become actively engaged in giving our Airmen and their families every possible advantage before and after they deploy - our nation not only counts on this but demands it.