The Mission You Have Accepted
By Lt. Col. Jim Reagan, Maintenance Group Commander
/ Published April 20, 2009
May 2009 -- Many years ago, there was a TV program called "Mission Impossible." Each show began with a reel-to-reel tape player featuring a male voice describing a new mission. The male voice asked the person listening if they would accept that mission. Like the famed TV show, by enlisting in the 180th we also have agreed to "accept a mission."
The 180th Fighter Wing's primary mission is to "train, organize, and equip expeditionary war fighters to deploy, fight and win world-wide, with minimum response time, in cases of national emergency or war." To meet our mission we need the Ability to Survive and Operate.
A quick Google word search brings up the following definitions:
Survive-"to remain alive or in existence or able to live or function, especially succeed in staying alive when faced with a life-threatening danger"
Operate - "to function or work, or make something function or work."
Our adversary's intent is to ensure we are not successful at one if not both of these. Fortunately for us, the potential contact with chemical and biological weapons is remote. That does not mean, however, that we do not need to be prepared. This month we begin our journey to spin-up for our Phase II Operational Readiness Inspection. Phase II, scheduled for July/Aug 2010, consists of working in a potential combat environment. For some of you, it's déjà vu. For others, it is your first exercise of this type. One thing for certain, we will all go through it together.
By the posting of this newsletter, we should have been issued a new Airman's Manual and the new Chemical Protective Overgarment. It appears to be much more comfortable than the old ensemble with the rubber hood. Thank to the folks in Logistics Readiness Squadron for obtaining them for us!
This exercise/inspection is a fairly comprehensive test of our ATSO skills in a simulated combat environment. Remember, the goal is to not only survive but to operate. Can we launch and recover our jets in a hostile environment? Can we protect our perimeters and resupply our needs? Can we treat our casualties, repair our runways and buildings, and provide food and water to the warrior? It is a daunting task! Most importantly, are we able to do our jobs safely and by the book? Some recent inspections across the ANG indicate difficulties, not so much with ATSO skills but with basic mission tasks. Do we use current Technical Data? Are we committing safety violations? It does us no good to survive the various attacks only to take out ourselves or equipment by our own hand!
Work with a sense of urgency but stay focused. When in doubt, ask someone! Communicate with each other and as events unfold, react and up channel info. Take care of your Wingman. Keep your Airman's Manual at the ready. Everything we do in the exercise will be referenced by some Air Force instruction. Be open to critique. If an inspector asks questions or makes a suggestion, listen and heed. They are here to keep us on the path to success. Remember, our goal is to survive and operate!
The next 15 moths are going to be a very busy time for everyone. I am positive that working together, we will succeed