Monday, October 29, 2012

Operational Readiness

"We interrupt this ORI for a photo opp..."
Much has been going on in my Wing lately that I haven't discussed online, due to the sensitive nature of the work.  Sure, you could've figured it out if you buzzed around online, but better to wait and tell you after the fact.

This last weekend we finished up our Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI).  Can you hear the big sigh of relief from everyone on Peterson?  You should!  We've been working up for this for an entire year now!  Let me backtrack for everyone who may be new to the Air Force...

In a nutshell, the ORE/ORI is BMT's BEAST on a much grander scale and with more at stake.  At BMT, if you don't succeed while at BEAST, there's no penalty against you.  It's a one shot deal, and you're competing against other Zones for a title that won't mean anything once you leave BMT.  An ORI is judged by Inspector Generals and various Colonels to determine your Wing's readiness to deploy.  Obviously, if you're not ready to deploy, you're not able to fulfill your Air Force mission.  No one wants that stigma, no one wants that top-down scrutiny.

The ORE/ORI is made up of "players" who are the primary participants, as well as alternates who have to go through the same preparation and training in case they must step in and go on the "deployment."  All members of the Wing were expected to inform their employers in advance of this time period that we'd be busy, and we took our Annual Tour (AT) during time.  Even if we weren't a primary or an alternate, our support was expected at the home station, which is why I was on orders for almost two weeks.  As a military service member and a Reservist, my employer is legally obligated to release me and preserve my job when I'm away serving.  Thus, I took a little break from the students and donned my ABUs!  Plus, I had been personally requested to participate as an assistant to our Chief of Installation Personnel Readiness (IPR).

Even PDF members need to make drive-thru runs!
The IPR office does a host of classified tasks and knows the whereabouts of all deployed members at all time.  Over the period I worked with them, we prepared briefs for our primaries and alternates, managing that event, and controlling the entrance to only those with the appropriate security clearance.  When our members deployed, we prepared their NATO and deployment orders, briefed them a few more times, and took accountability countless times.  We were a tight knit group, spending tons of quality time together. 

During the both the ORE and the ORI I worked on the Personnel Deployment Function (PDF) line, which out-processes and in-processes deploying members.  While I didn't work the PDF line for deployers this time, I did get to work the reception line!  Reception is my favorite part, one I referenced back in this blog post.  One of the biggest responsibilities of my job as a Personnelist is accountability.  During reception I get to meet the planes on the flight line, retrieve the manifest documents that detail the members on board the plane, as well as pick up crew orders and flight orders.  For someone typically cooped up in an office, you can imagine that it's pretty exciting for me.  There's just something amazing about being out there that reassures me that I made the right decision when enlisting in the Air Force.

It's been a busy month, to say the least.  I've been on duty for a total of fourteen days so far, and I'm heading back again this weekend for the regular UTA.  I've closed on a house, prepared my commissioning packet, and put my new home together, all while entering my second trimester!  Thankfully, my days of being without DH are coming to a close very quickly.  Many, many good things happening in my life right now and I feel exceptionally blessed!

[Side note: I do not know the status of our ORI at this point, if we "passed" or not.  A failure would mean having to repeat the process in six months, which no one wants to do.]

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