"Ready to Fight Tonight!" is not just a catch phrase

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Derrick Grames
  • 51st Mission Support Group superintendent
What does it really mean to be ready to fight tonight? Remember why you're here. As we've learned throughout history, the element of surprise is vital to the success of warfare. If the siren sounds at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning, would you be ready to perform your duties? In some cases, alcohol will be the reason some are not ready to fight tonight.

Alcohol is the common denominator. In March alone 67% of all Airmen that committed a crime and received an Article 15 were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, and 100% of curfew violators were alcohol-related incidents. There aren't too many sober Airmen standing in line getting chicken on a stick at one minute passed 1 a.m.! I'm not sure how many lunchtime brawls have happened at the food court, either. Ironically, alcohol seems to fuel this negative behavior. In most cases, the end result can be a loss of a stripe, loss of money, or sometimes both--not to mention restriction to base and possibly some extra duty. Is it really worth it?

The culture has shifted from just taking care of your wingman, getting them home and everything will be alright. Now, if there is a response by town patrol, security forces, or medical personnel it will be considered an alcohol-related incident and it will be passed up to your leadership. It's about making responsible choices and taking care of yourself; it's about being able to be a part of the team when you're needed the most.

Recently, there have been a few initiatives to reduce the number of events caused by alcohol. The intent is to prevent the next fight, the next sexual assault or the next alcohol poisoning. Hopefully, you've seen a friendly face from your work center, your first sergeant, your chief or even your commander on courtesy patrols, on and off base, as an increased presence and subtle reminder to act accordingly. You all have worked too hard to get to where you are in your career; don't let alcohol ruin it. I need you to have a plan. I need you to drink responsibly. I need you to take care of each other. I need you to minimize the effects of alcohol--and it all starts with you!

As we go down this road with the threat of war, sequestration, budget cuts and date of separation rollbacks, we continue to do more with less. Have you ever heard, "We need more people," or "I can't afford to give up anyone?" They are absolutely right. You are that precious resource. You are trained and equipped to perform a mission. You are vital to the success of this team. Your success lies in your preparation. Our success lies on your readiness. Remember why you're here. Are you "Ready to Fight Tonight?"