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Defenders prepare for ORI challenge

Reservists trained for a number of scenarios in mock deployment

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Elizabeth Moody

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(446th AW PA) - Many people ease into a Saturday morning with the morning paper in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Reservists from the 446th Security Forces Squadron here are a little different.

Wanting to do more than just augment active duty security forces, the Defenders volunteered to participate in an upcoming Operational Readiness Exercise and Operational Readiness Inspection.

This meant getting up in the wee hours of the morning and easing into July's Unit Training Assembly by suiting up with protective overgarments and practicing Mission-Oriented Protective Posture level two, or MOPP 2.

Early-rising civilians might be searching for the brew buttons on their coffee makers while the eager Citizen Airmen continued their ORI preparations by setting up entry control points and vehicle and personnel search areas, establishing a Base Defense Operations Center, a landline and radio communications system and multiple defensive fighting positions.

"The 446th SFS has never participated in an ORI because historically our mission was backfilling for the active duty and providing law enforcement," said Maj. Raymond Schierhoff, 446th SFS commander. "We used to be a strategic Reserve but we are quickly becoming an operational Reserve."

The Defenders had a long list of things to do before they could even think about what was on the day's lunch menu.

"When boots hit the ground at the ORI, we have a limited amount of time to set up operations," said Schierhoff, who is also a Washington State trooper.  "They are working hard now to prepare them for the ORE in September and ORI in October."

Two squads from the 446th SFS trained for a number of scenarios in a mock deployment to a remote air base with an enemy that has various weapons capabilities, said Senior Master Sgt. Michelle Helpenstell, 446th SFS operations superintendent.

"We have a lot of knowledge and experience in our unit," said Helpenstell. "As a leader it's very important to ask what scenarios our forces want to see and train for because through the line, they know what they need to practice; we try to make our training as realistic as possible."

Gaining support from the active duty and other Reserve units at McChord Field, was a crucial step in preparing the 446th SFS for the ORE and ORI.

"I can't emphasize enough how much our active duty and Reserve counterparts have supported us," said Helpenstell. "From providing sandbags, barriers and vehicles, the active duty and other Reserve units have bent over backwards to help provide the equipment necessary for us to train effectively."

"The process of training for the OER and ORI preparation has had a dual effect," said Master Sgt. Michael Pate, 446th SFS training NCOIC. "We've had to take that training with our new wartime task mission and give our newer members an overall view of our future mission for security forces. The preparation has shown us our strength and weaknesses, our equipment and personnel shortfalls and now we have a forward-looking goal of our next fiscal year to continue to train and prepare for any wartime tasking.

Photo: Reservists from the 446th Security Forces Squadron at McChord Field render self-aid buddy care while training July 14. Tech. Sgt. Randall Cross, left, and Senior Airman James Dean dress mock head injury wounds for a victim of sniper fire, played by Senior Airman Joshua Hartford. Pictured center is Staff Sgt. Christopher Janson, providing first-aid instruction.

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