12/21/05 — Base practices reaction time for deployment

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Base practices reaction time for deployment

By Turner Walston
Published in News on December 21, 2005 1:47 PM

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base personnel did everything but launch aircraft recently as they tested to see if base personnel are prepared to handle a deployment order.

The Phase I Operational Readiness Exercise made sure 4th Fighter Wing personnel can mobilize quickly, base officials said.

"It's an exercise that is an evaluation of the unit's capability to transfer from peacetime readiness to wartime posture," said Master Sgt. Scott Ely, superintendent of evaluations and assessments for the 4th Fighter Wing. "It's how we get out of town."

The process began with a wing-wide recall at 4 a.m. Tuesday. Most airmen were at their departments by 5:30.

The three primary components in a deployment exercise are aircraft generation, personnel deployment functions and cargo deployment functions, Ely said.

"We check all facets of the operation," he said. "There's a lot of pieces and parts that are involved with it: the aircraft, the personnel, the cargo that gets deployed to the tasked location. It's the whole wing; We're talking probably 4,000 people."In a 24-hour period during the exercise, 18 F-15 E Strike Eagles were prepared for deployment, in spite of cold rainy weather.

"In the F-15 world, that's pretty good." Ely said. "It makes it a little bit tough to do that maintenance part when you're out there working with the elements."

About 700 airmen were processed for deployment. Medical and legal records have to be up-to-date, Ely said. "We want everybody to be ready. We've got to be ready at a moment's notice."

Following each exercise, the wing's exercise evaluation team compiles grading information and reports it. About 160 inspectors grade processes according to standards set by Air Combat Command.

"Each one of these steps takes hours to put together, and we've exercised that all week long. We did pretty good," Ely said.

While the base graded out well, Ely said there is always room for improvement.

"There are things that are found," he said. "That's why we do them (the exercises)."

The twice-yearly assessment offers a glimpse of the wing's overall operational readiness.

"At Seymour Johnson, this is what we do. We do it all the time," Ely said. "The deployment machine worked as it's supposed to. All the parts and pieces came together, and everything was in place."