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Oh Me Oh My… Another ORI

Swanton, OH -- First thing first... No one will have to don their chemical warfare suits for the Phase I! You may have to carry it around, but we can all breathe easy knowing that we won't be running around in the heat and humidity sucking rubber.

Why are we doing this again after all of the hard work everyone put into successfully preparing for and earning an overall EXCELLENT rating for the 2010 Phase II Operational Readiness Inspection? And, what's the difference between a Phase I and Phase II anyhow?

An ORI is an evaluation process, usually comprised of two Phases. Phase I evaluates a unit's ability to process and deploy personnel and equipment from home-station to a deployed location in a safe and timely manner. Phase II evaluates a units ability to operate and survive in a deployed location. These two Phases typically happen together, simulating the process of a real-world deployment from start to finish - notification of deployment to the completion of operations in the deployed location or assigned Area of Responsibility.

For the 180th, the ORI process is happening in reverse. We completed the Phase II portion last year and now we are in full swing to prepare and complete the Phase I portion next year. "The ACC IG and the Air National Guard split the Phase I & II apart for wings to complete each separately over a UTA weekend and to save money in a fiscal year," said Col. Steve Nordhaus, wing commander. "The Phase II portion takes priority and became the driver for our wing."

So what is a Phase I ORI?

"A Phase I inspection is required for every Air Force unit in accordance with Air Force Instruction 90-201, Inspector General Activities," said Senior Master Sgt. David Martin, logistics plans superintendent. "The purpose of this kind of inspection is to ensure that we, as a unit, are ready at a moments' notice to move people with the proper training and equipment to anywhere in the world in order to fight, survive and win the war."

Lt. Col. Gregg Biddle, deputy mission support group commander, explains the Phase I as a three-pronged process including deployment, generation and force protection as the three major areas inspected.

The first prong, deployment, is the actual mobilization and deployment of personnel and cargo to meet the combatant commander's requirements. "Command and Control or C2, includes our ability to prepare our fighting force to go to war and to get them to the theater in a timely manner," said Biddle.

Have you ever wondered why there are drill weekends that you spend more time running all over trying to accomplish medical, personnel and training requirements rather than doing the job you signed up to do? Remember the phrase above, "at a moments' notice?" Each and every one of us needs to be ready if that moment ever comes. Maintaining a ready state is at the forefront of everything we do in the Air National Guard and that state of readiness plays a significant role during a Phase I inspection just as it will when someone gets a real-world tasking, or notice to deploy. In order for any one of us to be ready at a moments' notice, we need to consider a laundry list of items from fitness and medical readiness and requirements; Air Force Specialty Code and any required specialized equipment training; and personnel and personal requirements to include financial and legal documents. These are just a few items on the list. Individual Unit Type Codes and deployed locations may have other additional requirements that need to be completed prior to deployment.

"Many of us are assigned to a unit type code or UTC, a specialized package of people and/or equipment designed specifically to fight the war," said Senior Master Sgt. Martin. "These UTCs can be called up to deploy with as little as a few days notice."

Preparing for and maintaining this so-called state of readiness is ultimately your responsibility. If you aren't ready when called, you just may miss the bus.

The 180th has small army of personnel called the Personnel Deployment Function, who will help you achieve that state of readiness and stay there. These people are the ones that will be working around-the-clock up to and throughout the Phase I ORI as well as real-world deployments, to ensure that every 180th member is ready to process and deploy.

"The main purpose of the PDF is to verify that members are eligible to deploy and that they are properly accounted for," said 1st Lt. Tiffany Pasker, director of personnel at the 180th. "Within the PDF, we publish TDY orders, check baggage for unauthorized items and ensure that all deploying personnel are manifested and loaded onto their means of transportation."

When processing through the PDF, whether for the Phase I or for a deployment, the PDF will verify that each member has all requirements complete and is eligible to deploy. A few of the most important requirements include an updated Common Access Card or CAC, dog tags, Service Group Life Insurance and Virtual Record of Emergency Data or vRED.

"It is imperative that all members review their records at least annually to ensure that all information is accurately reflected in their personnel records," said Pasker.

"These items identify deploying personnel and provide additional details regarding Next of Kin information, benefits and entitlements," Pasker explains. "The PDF also provides personnel, financial, legal and religious services to deploying personnel on an as-requested basis."

Lt. Col. Biddle goes on to explain that generation is the second prong. Generation is generating the F-16s to be combat ready enabling them to deploy and meet the combatant commander's requirements. During this portion, the unit is evaluated on its ability to generate aircraft to fight the war and regenerate the aircraft in theater or war zone to continue fighting the war.

"The entire process is judged against both a time limit and quality standards with inspectors constantly looking over our shoulders," said Lt. Col. Scott Reed, 180th maintenance group commander. "Invariably, the unexpected happens and we are graded on our ability to adapt and overcome."

Not only are the aircraft generated, equipment, cargo and passenger loads must be generated for deployment.

Senior Master Sgt. Martin explains that the Cargo Deployment Function is the final processing area for cargo before deploying. The CDF checks for cleanliness of equipment, that proper packing requirements are met and that hazardous materials are clearly and properly marked. All cargo is then weighed ensuring that the entire load of cargo does not overload aircraft limits.

"Force protection, the third prong is the unit's ability to protect the base, people, equipment, information, etc., during Phase I operations as directed by the Anti-Terrorism Officer, Capt. Rick Easler," said Biddle.

"The Threat Working Group gives the recommendations to implement measures basewide that will protect against threats," said Easler. "The Force Protection Conditions or FPCON are a collection of measures associated with increasing levels of security to combat an increasing threat environment."

"It is most important that every member of the wing know what the current FPCON level is and the reason why we're there," explains Easler.

Each and every one of us will play a role in the OREs and the ORI, even if we aren't tasked as a deployer. Those of us not tasked to deploy may be assigned as an augmentee to support other functions on base, such as the PDF, CDF or baggage line. Others may have tasks within their work centers that will be inspected during the ORI.

Check with your supervisor to see if your work center has specific inspection requirements. You can also reference AFI 90-201, which outlines overall inspection requirements.

Your sections Unit Deployment Manager or UDM will have information on which personnel and UTCs are tasked for each exercise as well as for the 2012 ORI.

"Though only about 300 members will be tasked to deploy for the ORI, every member will participate in the Phase I, in some form or fashion," said Senior Master Sgt. Martin. "Every unit member is key to the success of the unit receiving an outstanding grade."
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