News>ORE brings reserve, active-duty Airmen together at JB MDL
Tech. Sgt. Miriam Gelo, 514th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, speaks to members from the medical group in the Emergency Operations Center during the operational readiness exercise, Oct. 14, 2012, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Members of the EOC worked to communicate with the entire base on a number of different exercise issues. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/2nd Lt. David J. Murphy)
Service members from 87th Air Base Wing and 514th Air Mobility Wing prepare to deploy on a C-17 Globemaster III during a home-station operational readiness exercise Oct. 12, 2012, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The week-long exercise is designed to give service members the opportunity to test their ability to go through the deployment, employment and redeployment process. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. David Murphy)
First Lt. Thomas Dominguez, 87th Aerospace Medicine Squadron environmental engineer, hailing from Harlingen, Texas, tests water for chemical agents during the operational readiness exercise, Oct. 14, 2012. Dominguez was able to test for Lucite, mustard gas and other nerve agents. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. David Murphy)
by 2nd Lt. David J. Murphy
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs
10/25/2012 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- A group of six players act as upset civilians gathered outside the gate of a simulated base during an exercise Oct. 15 here. The group is acting like protestors who are unhappy with the Air Force being in their country.
Fire department and security forces personnel arrive on scene to provide assistance if the protestors get out of hand. At the same time a vehicle carrying a simulated improvised explosive device drives to the entry control point. The driver and passengers then exit the vehicle and detonate the IED.
Two of the passengers from the car act as gunmen, and simulate opening fire on the base. Another actor portraying a shooter enters from the opposite side the installation around the same time. Security forces engage with both sets of attackers and are able to drive them off, allowing members of the base return to work.
This was one of many scenarios executed during the operational readiness exercise Oct. 10 through 17 here.
The week-long event was a joint effort between reserve Airmen from the 514th Air Mobility Wing and active-duty Airmen from the 87th Air Base Wing and 305th Aerial Port Squadron.
This ORE is designed to prepare service members for the upcoming April operational readiness inspection here. The exercise also gives command staff personnel a chance to understand and observe the readiness of their Airmen and how they would fight in a deployed environment.
The ORE and the ORI take service members through the process of a deployment, starting first with the mobility phase, followed by the deployment and employment phase and concluding with the redeployment and demobilization phase.
"The ORE is an evaluation of our preparedness," said Lt. Col Tony Polashek, 514th AMW deputy operations group commander. "It tests our ability to deploy and operate efficiently in a deployed environment."
Polashek acted as the operations group commander for the Crisis Action Team during the exercise and was second-in-command to Col. Michal Underkofler, 514th AMW wing commander.
The event featured a number of different scenarios, or injects, that challenged service members in every field. Injects ranged from missile and chemical attacks to interview requests and gas spills.
"We faced pretty much the entire gamut of what our first sergeants see when we're deployed," said Underkofler. "Everybody was engaged, solving problems seen in a real-world environment and addressing multiple simulated challenges at one time. Even with the challenges of a home-station ORE everyone was fully engaged."
A home-station ORE or ORI takes place at a unit's home base while a fly-away takes place at the center designed specifically for operational readiness training or at another accommodating base.
"The difference between a fly-away and home-station ORI is that one provides an isolated and realistic training area, while the latter requires nonplayers to continue to work alongside players," said Underkofler. "The benefits of having a home-station ORI are that we are saving the taxpayer money and are keeping service members near their home and family."
Fly-away OREs and ORIs can take place at one of four CRTCs across the U.S. A training center is located at Air National Guard bases in Gulfport, Miss.; Alpena, Mich.; Savannah, Ga.; and Camp Douglas, Wis.
The Air Force is able to save money on gas, lodging and other expenses by keeping both people and aircraft local, said Underkofler.
"We are acting as a test bed for home-station ORIs within AMC," said Underkofler. "If we are successful in April, this could be the way AMC handles evaluations in the future."
The Exercise Evaluation Team judges a unit's performance for success or failure. The EET constantly observes service members as they execute their missions, taking notes and providing feedback. At the end of an ORI, a base can earn one of four rankings: outstanding, excellent, satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
"We are working to ensure they are in compliance with their mission essential task lists, their functional areas and their individual tasks," said Robert Scherer, 87th ABW chief of exercise services. "We also evaluated attitude, sense of urgency, leadership, team work and compliance with their (ability to survive and operate) tasks."
Attitude was one area where service members excelled, said Chief Master Sgt. James J. Whitley, 514th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent.
"Attitudes were great, everyone was very positive," said Whitley. "They wanted to do it and they wanted to do a good job."
The exercise was a success in that it identified areas were the units both performed well and needed improvement, said Scherer.
"As the exercise progressed, everything got better," he added. "We still have a long way to go but, generally, people did improve and we expect to see even more improvement."
Units will have the opportunity to test their abilities again during the second ORE in January.
"We appreciate the patience and support of all here at JB MDL who helped with this home-station ORE and will help with both the second ORE and the ORI," said Underkofler.