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140th Wing gears up for an Operational Readiness Inspection

1/11/09 -- BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - The 140th Wing of the Colorado Air National Guard (COANG) recently completed another Operational Readiness Exercise (ORE) gearing up for an important Air Combat Command/Inspector General Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) phase one next month. 

"The phase one inspection will focus on how effectively, efficiently and safely the wing accomplishes its assigned missions and responsibilities in preparation for deployment of equipment and personnel, as well as compliance with Air Force instructions and regulations. The inspection heavily rests within maintenance and their ability to generate aircraft in preparation for deployment to a specified location," said Lt. Col. Jim Fogle, of 140th Wing plans and inspections office.

"Exercises and inspections such as these can either be viewed as a dreaded interruption of operations or as a chance to hone operational skills--a chance to shine," said 140th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. Trulan A. Eyre. "The ORI is an opportunity for the Air Force Command Inspector General team to test our capabilities to both deploy and employ and it validates to Air Force Combatant Commanders that we are capable to do so effectively." 

During the ORE, Master Sgt. Brian Brandfas worked in the Unit Personnel Deployment Function performing a comprehensive review of mobility folders to ensure compliance. "Our goal is to identify discrepancies so the units have an opportunity to fix them," said Brandfas. 

They had to process more than 460 folders. However, because they started early they said they were optimistic about the impact for the ORI. 

140th Wing Safety Officer, Lt. Col. Brian Patterson, said the challenge of this exercise was keeping people focused on the mission when it's just an exercise for now. "People have more of a sense of urgency when they're actually getting ready to deploy," said Patterson. 

"On the safety side, we have to make sure our people aren't taking shortcuts. During an exercise, everyone can go home [between shifts]. Whereas in theater, they're focused on the mission and less likely to take shortcuts to get home more quickly."
Patterson stated the benefits of the exercise are in the streamlining of processes. "Guard members are learning to do their tasks more quickly and effectively, so when they face the pressures of combat, it's routine," Patterson said. 

Despite minor concerns, Eyre said he feels confident that the 140th Wing will excel again. 

"We are doing extremely well during this ORE. It is a great test of our abilities, and the exercise provides us great lessons to have a successful ORI next month. Our folks have shown nothing but positive attitudes. They are well prepared and showing the proper sense of urgency and drive that we want to see in these situations. We need to take care of a few minor issues, but other than that our folks are right on target." 

The wing passed the last ORI and rolled right into a deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq, to provide air power in the Global War on Terrorism. It was the third deployment of 140th Wing unit members during the past four and one-half years in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Though inspections are never easy, the 140th Wing continues to meet the high standards of the inspection schedule and at the same time meet combat commitments, leading the way for the Air National Guard, Eyre said. 

"I am very proud of the men and women of the 140th Wing, and I know we will come out on top during our inspection next month," he said.