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Deja vu! Swamp Foxes prepare for ORI

Static photo of Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) items. (National GUard photo by Master Sgt. Marvin R. Preston/Released)

Static photo of Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) items. (National GUard photo by Master Sgt. Marvin R. Preston/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina --    The SCANG is preparing for another Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) in 2013, but work has already begun to insure continuation of past successes. ORIs are conducted to evaluate and measure the ability of a unit to perform in wartime, during a
contingency or a force sustainment mission, according to Air Force Instruction 90-201,
Inspector General Activities.

   Phase I will evaluate our unit's transition from peacetime readiness into a wartime
posture and our ability to maintain and sustain essential home station missions during
and after the deployment of mobility forces. Phase II will evaluate our ability to meet
wartime tasking.

   A team comprised of more than 70 inspectors is scheduled to arrive November 2013 to observe how well McEntire is prepared to deploy at a moment's notice. This will include anything from personnel paperwork to how many aircraft take off on schedule.

   However, before the ORI begins, the SCANG will go through several phases of an Operational Readiness Exercise (ORE), which will concentrate on training for the
actual inspection. Col. Mike Manning, vice wing commander of the 169th Fighter
Wing, said, "The ORE is like a scrimmage.

   The ORI is our Super Bowl, and how a unit performs in an inspection could very well be a determining factor for such things as BRAC and Total Force Initiative (TFI) discussions."
Manning said the most important thing for success is to have a good attitude, because a grade on the ORI will go a long way in establishing or maintaining the good reputation of the SCANG. "One of the reasons we have more than 150 active duty members here has to do with our reputation on past inspections,' Manning said. "Our reputation is always on the line when these inspections occur."

   The last ORE/ORI at McEntire was in December 2007 for a Phase I inspection, which was followed by a Phase II in December 2008. However, the greatest difference in the upcoming inspection is that both phases will occur in succession. The objective for
combining the inspections is to save money, while also allowing the units more 'white' or free space on their schedules. "We prepped almost three years before the last inspection, compared to less than one year for this one," said Manning. "Not only that, we will now have approximately 12-18 hours to transition from Phase I to Phase II, instead of an entire year. It's good to get it all done at the same time."

   The wing is expected to be evaluated in four areas: initial response, employment, mission support and the ability to survive and operate in a hostile environment. Initial
response consists of processing through a mobility line, so it's essential Airmen have
their mobility folders, ancillary training and shots up-to-date.

   As always, operating in a simulated chemical environment (ATSO), will be important and inspectors will evaluate how Airmen respond to force protection conditions, alarm condition changes, MOPP levels and attacks. Inspectors also evaluate the ability of the base population to identify, mark, report and avoid post-attack hazards as well as how individuals perform self-aid and buddy care. "Self-Aid and Buddy Care stands to be
emphasized during the ORI because that's what's happening in the field right now," said Manning. "I expect the inspectors to pay close attention to our ability to provide aid to our wingman while continuing the mission."

   In preparation for the upcoming exercises, the wing has scheduled mandatory attendance the Friday before both the January and February UTAs, with more mandatory days to be announced in the months following. Although McEntire has scheduled these additional days for preparation, Manning feels that if the inspectors were to show up right
now, the SCANG would perform well. "We don't cut corners in getting the job done," he
said. "The inspectors can come and inspect us any time they want, and I'm 100 percent
sure we would pass.

   "Shaw AFB just underwent a 'no notice' inspection a few months ago for a Phase I, and the inspectors watched them deploy on an actual deployment," said Manning."We would do fine on a 'no notice' inspection, because we are prepared. However, we can expect that something will always go wrong with the best laid plans," said Manning. "If we react to chaos with a positive attitude, this will be a piece of cake."