Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

February 4, 2012 at 3:34am

McChord's operational readiness exercise design a little different

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Team Silver or Team Blue? Actually, it really doesn't matter which team you support, as ultimately it's Team McChord that will benefit from the upcoming operational readiness inspection.

The 446th Airlift Wing, 62nd Airlift Wing, with support from the 627th Air Base Group, will head out to the "war" Feb. 10-17 in the first of three team practices for the October Air Mobility Command Inspector General Operational Readiness Inspection.

This first practice is here on the home field - McChord Field. And it won't be like any operational readiness exercise you've seen before. Team Silver and Team Blue will alternate days between straight up training and working in the "deployed" environment.  Individuals will find out which team they're assigned to next week.

"What will happen is that on Monday of the exercise, work hours are 6 in the morning to 6 at night. So, folks will be arriving into the play area, both Blue and Silver for initial reception and bed down," said Lt. Col. Diego Wendt, 446th AW chief, exercises and evaluations.

Prior to the initial reception and bed down Feb. 13, both Reserve and active-duty Airmen will process for deployment Feb. 11-12.

"The 'war' kicks off Tuesday morning. Team Blue will have 12 hours of war, while Team Silver will have 12 hours of training, to include ATSO (ability to survive and operate), mask fitting, self-aid buddy care; it's a really robust training plan," Wendt said.

Wednesday, Team Silver fights while Team Blue does training. Thursday the teams will switch.

"Friday, we have a shortened war and a shortened training event. Everything wraps up on Friday. The one thing we opted not to exercise, because it's artificial anyway in a local event, is the redeployment. So what we did by giving up the exercising of the redeployment is we bought ourselves an extra day of war and real useful training," explained Wendt.

The main objective of this ORE, according to Wendt, is to fully test Team McChord's initial response and the deployment process. So that means every ORI-tasked function and personnel will process Saturday or Sunday on the Reserve weekend, including active-duty Airmen. About 695 people are expected to process.

"Everyday we'll expect people to be on base between 5:30 in the morning and 5:45 in the morning; whether it's a war day or a training day," said Wendt. "The war days, the warriors will report to the O'Club, where a shuttle will leave at 5:45 to transport people to the 300 area.

On training days, people will go to Hangar 9, where they'll need to be at 6 in the morning."

For the initial bed down Feb. 13, everyone will go to the McChord Field Club in the order of their chalks for deployment.

In the war zone (play area), there will be no cell phones; don't even bring them, according to Wendt.

"And don't bring food, not even snacks. MREs (meals-ready-to-eat) and a hot lunch will be provided in the war area," Wendt said. "Bring cash, because MRE's cost $4.55 each. You can buy them in the initial processing line on Saturday or Sunday (pre-order them), or you can buy them when you check in through personnel in the war zone."

On training days, Wendt recommends people show up with a good breakfast already in them, and to bring snacks. There will be only one hour for lunch.

When working on a training day, Airmen need to ensure they bring with them any computer-based training certificates for the self-aid buddy care and Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear and Explosive training.

"We call this our Bang for the Buck plan," said Wendt. "The most valuable objective is to train for the first time, as a joint base with our 627th and 62nd partners. The real value of this is that the Reserve brings an extraordinary amount of experience to the table and we're looking forward to the opportunity to train."

In addition to the training "deploying" Airmen will receive, exercise evaluation team members will receive training as well.

"We're looking forward to the opportunity to train EET members to create a standardized grading process so when we go to the May fly-a-way, we're all grading from the same criteria," said Wendt. "We want to raise up inspectors who will provide an ORI/AMC IG level inspection for the May and September fly-a-ways."

Photo: Reservists from the 446th Airlift Wing, McChord Field, Wash., process through a deployment line here before leaving for an exercise. Both Reserve and active-duty Airmen will process much like this for the operational readiness exercise Feb. 11-12, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Grant Saylor).

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