ORI: Not just for show

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Burns
  • 934th Mission Support Group commander
There's a saying that says if you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. There is a tremendous amount of truth to the adage, especially now as we prepare for the upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection. I know the question on everyone's mind: "Why are we going through an ORI? Don't we have more important things to worry about?"

The purpose of an ORI is to validate our combat readiness and ability to execute the "assigned" missions and tasks against a defined standard. Put simply, the Air Force wants to validate our ability to safely deploy while following the appropriate Air Force guidance. As with any job, our bosses want to know if we're good at what we are being paid to do. We intend to show them that we are better than good; we are the best, even under adverse conditions.

Although this inspection may not reflect how we're currently operating, it is the way they expect us to fight a potential war, such as one in Southwest Asia (one possible ORI scenario). Additionally, the inspection will give us experience with situations we could be faced with such as changes to Force Protection levels, chemical threats, security breaches, conscientious objectors and more. We need to demonstrate the capability to mitigate threats, overcome attacks, survive, and return to operations.

This inspection is an opportunity for AFRC to acknowledge what we already know - the 934 AW is ready for anything, we have the best people in the Air Force, and we can work together to overcome any challenge. During our recent trips to Gulfport and Alpena, our wing leadership had the opportunity to see first-hand the outstanding attitudes and sense of urgency of our people.

While I have no doubt that we will prove once again that we are the "best of the best," we do need to hone our skills. We now find ourselves in the twilight hours with few UTA's to prepare. As a result, I'm asking all Airman supporting the ORI (both deploying and those providing home station support) to attend all of the training we have scheduled, do it with an open mind, and approach it with a good attitude. Then remember what you learn.

Most of us have been through several types of inspections and know that preparation is the key to success. Now is the time for us to review our processes and procedures, to get familiar with the "Airman's Manual" (AFPAM 10-100) and continue the dialogue with our partner wings at Youngstown and Reno and other units who have recently undergone an ORI as well.

I realize there are other concerns in the wing with the Force Structure changes looming over our heads. However, I ask for your patience and cooperation as we do whatever is needed to prepare and pass our inspection. Like many of you, I have deployed to Iraq and faced the very challenges we perform during an ORI. I have served as a director of an Emergency Operations Center in Iraq and am thankful for the ORI training and experience, which better prepared me to meet actual enemies and threats in a deployed environment. The ORI is not just for show and can be a reality. I say "bring it on" and let's show the IG what we can do.

Thank you all for what you do.