Practice leads to readiness Published May 29, 2009 By Brig. Gen. Edward L. Bolton Jr. 45th SW commander PATRiCK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- First off, let me just say "kudos" to all of you who supported the launch of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile from a British Royal Navy submarine Sunday on the Eastern Range. Also, thank you to each and every one of you out there as we had zero reported injuries during last week's holiday weekend. That is exactly how I wanted to start off the 101 Critical Days of Summer and that is exactly how I want it to come to an end - with everyone safe and making smart decisions. Also, I want to congratulate all of you for your hard work during this week's extensive readiness exercise. Our IG team worked hard to test our abilities to respond to and overcome a vast array of situations, ranging from hostage situations and base attacks to major accidents and anti-terrorism operations. It is great that we have such a hard-working, talented, and energetic group of people here who are so focused on protecting the personnel and the assets of Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Job well done. Being prepared brings peace of mind to all of us. It brings a certain kind of quiet confidence, a "we can do it" mindset that is not only almost impossible to defeat, but also is vital for any military to win the fight and to persevere under such demanding circumstances. We, as a family, need to feed off that air of confidence, while at the same time being ever vigilant in our preparations for the unknown. Remember, the day that we stop training and brainstorming for what may happen tomorrow, our enemies gain a possible edge - an opportunity if you will; one that they are more than willing to exploit. As Gen. George Washington said, "To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace." The same holds true today as it did centuries ago. For if we relax our efforts and we relax our guard, then surely someone will take advantage. We must never let that happen. Our checklists are vital to our operations and to our security. Equally vital is our ingenuity and our ability to go beyond the standard when faced with opposition. That is what these exercises are all about - our ability to act under pressure. By no means are these types of exercises a thing of the past. Take pride in your actions and learn from your mistakes - they should be the only things going away. Thanks again for all you do.