Exercises sharpen skills for ORI, real-world events

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Mark Dillon
  • 86th Airlift Wing commander
Team Ramstein, next week hundreds of 86th Airlift Wing and 435 Air Ground Operations Wing Airmen kick off the second of five operational readiness exercises we've scheduled before our operational readiness inspection in September.

You are incredibly busy winning today's fight in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and most units have between 10 to 30 percent of their Airmen deployed. But we can't rest because our enemy isn't resting. We must continue to "sharpen our swords" and OREs give us just that opportunity.

We must be able to deploy our wings on short notice, sustain our wings, and survive hostile actions against our wings. And we must be able to do all this in a hostile and often dangerous environment. OREs provide us the opportunity to prove to ourselves we are ready and despite the operations tempo, our swords are sharp. We will emerge from our OREs and our ORI in September a much more capable force, ready to execute our mission at a moment's notice.

Who could have predicted the tragic events unfolding in Haiti? But our Air Force's response has been magnificent due to regular readiness exercises and inspections. Exercises are difficult but at the same time, training opportunities. It is important to get as much "hands-on" opportunities during these exercises as we can. That's where you play such a vital role. And you can make the biggest impact by getting your hands on your equipment, hands on your Airman's manual, and hands on your tech orders.

OREs are the key to a successful ORI. More importantly, these exercises/inspections help us "sharpen our sword" for tomorrow's uncertainty.