Before 0900 on the morning of 13 January 2018, screenshots were already flooding social media: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII . . . . THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Although within 48 hours t-shirts that said “I Survived the Hawaii Missile Attack of 2018” were on sale, the false alarm showed just how important preparedness is. Not only active duty military in the islands, but their families and island residents all were alarmed by the seemingly impending destruction. With this alarm came the realization that most of us were entirely unprepared.
The commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Hawaii attempted to drive this idea home at a town hall meeting later that day. He led with—and touched on throughout the presentation and discussion—the key idea: you are ultimately responsible for preparedness; not the government or the military. You. Some questions from the audience revealed that this concept of individual personal responsibility was not quite understood at first.