I sat at my desk feeling tired as the clock approached 5 p.m. It was a long day at work, and I was ready to go home.
I already started daydreaming. Retreat, that sweet afternoon bugle song, would call an end to the duty day as I say “see you later” to my coworkers and enjoy a nice workout at the gym. Feeling fit and refreshed, I would drive home where my wonderful wife would greet me at the door and a delicious dinner would greet me at the table. Content with all that life has given me, I would end the day sleeping in my soft comfortable bed.
“Ah,” I thought to myself as I continued spacing out. “What could be better than the bliss of home-sweet-home after a job well done?”
Suddenly a mysterious disembodied voice popped my dream bubble and dragged me back to reality.
“Exercise, exercise, exercise!” it said.
At first, I thought it was the little angel on my right shoulder telling me to hurry to the gym. But no, it was the loud speaker announcing the early phase of Ramstein’s exercise Wing Thunder. Wing Thunder was meant to evaluate Ramstein’s response in the event an adversary would try to attack the base.
“Alarm yellow, alarm yellow,” the voice continued.
Alarm yellow is a military code meaning an enemy attack is probable within the next 30 minutes and all personnel should seek shelter.
We hunkered down in our building and braced for the fictitious attack. I soon realized I would arrive home later than planned. Thanks a lot, mysterious disembodied voice.
I thought to myself, “How strange of this hypothetical scenario playing just as it was time to go home!”
I pondered on this thought for a while, and then it hit me: if the enemy wanted to attack us, they would hit us when we are least prepared.
Around 5 p.m., we tend to wind down. We start thinking about going home, going to the gym, going out with our friends or sitting down to a meal with our family. A missile attack is the last thing on our minds. Enemies can be unforgiving and if we are not prepared, we won’t know what hit us. Then it will be home, the gym or the restaurant which will be the last thing on our minds.
So I meditated upon this concept of readiness. I remembered that as a member of the U.S. armed forces, I must be prepared for anything no matter what time of the day or week it is.
Readiness is what prepares us for our mission, no matter what it is. It is what enables us to take on anything which comes our way, however daunting it may be. This is the valuable lesson I learned during exercise Wing Thunder.