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How ready is your team?

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jay Alonzo
  • 6th Maintenance Squadron commander
This past April the 6th Air Mobility Wing updated the format of the Weekly Activity Report to report twelve key readiness and performance metrics to 18th Air Force. One of these metrics is the Preventive Health Assessment and Individual Medical Readiness (PIMR) rate.

This rate measures the medical deployment readiness by tracking immunization status, Duty Limiting Conditions (DLC), and other medical information with a goal of 80 percent currency.

Take a moment and think about that goal. The Air Force expects 80 percent of our force to be medically ready all the time. That means only 1 out of 5 can be injured our non-compliant with their medical care at any moment. Is this a tough goal to achieve? It can be. Take a look at your duty section.

How many of your fellow Airmen are recovering from an injury or need other time consuming medical or dental care? A broken bone or dental surgery can easily take several weeks to heal. After you subtract these individuals, you can't "afford" to have Airmen non-mission ready for simple things like immunizations, lab tests, or a short Physical Health Assessments (PHA). In small duty sections, as few as one or two personnel could drop your unit below the 80 percent goal.

Consider that medical is just one of the limitations that prevent Airmen from being deployment ready. AFI 10-403 contains a long list of Deployment Availability (DAV) Codes.

Also consider that very few Air Force units are 100 percent manned to begin with, and it is easy to see how a unit's PIMR rate and other DAV limitations could prevent it from being ready to execute its assigned mission.

To some extent, I view my unit and our readiness like a sports team. To accomplish our assigned mission we need X number of players ready to take the field and all members must be qualified and proficient at their position.

However, unlike a sports team the cost of the military losing are much higher than a game or even a championship. Additionally, we do not aim for the narrow victory of an extra point or one run. As a military, our goal is to dominate our opponent and unquestionably win all battles. Since the cost of losing and desire to win is so high, we cannot afford to play with anything less than our complete All-star team.

As leaders and supervisors in an expeditionary Air Force, we should constantly monitor PIMR rates and make ensure the team is always ready. We need to work with Airmen to resolve DLCs and look hard at the easy "kills" such as overdue PHA and immunizations.

Additionally, you may need to make the hard call of retention or retraining in the Air Force in the unfortunate instance of a long term health problem that prevents full participation.

An individual may have the best intentions and give their best effort, but in many cases what we need is their best performance without limitations. We are the best in the world at what we do and our country expects us to bring our "A" game every time we are called upon.