02/01/11 — 916th taking on Operational Readiness Inspection

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916th taking on Operational Readiness Inspection

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on February 1, 2011 1:49 PM

Tensions are mounting around the world and the U.S. military is on alert.

The nation's aircraft need fuel to carry out the missions they might be called on to execute.

It's a task left to airmen like those who make up Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's 916th Air Refueling Wing.

"The basic scenario is that there are escalating tensions in the world with a specific nation actor," said Col. Steve Legrand, Air Mobility Command Inspector General Team Chief. "So it's, 'This is going on. We need to get you out there and in place because we may need to do some shooting here and we're going to need tanker and airlift support immediately.'

"We expect to see them demonstrate their ability to prosecute this nation's war plans. Air mobility is one of the biggest factors in what we do. We have to move things so quickly that we don't have time to train people up when the need comes. They have to be able to hit the road and that's what we're testing. Can they hit the road? Can they set up at a foreign location and get the job done that we need them to do?"

Members of Seymour Johnson's storied Reserve wing are currently engaged in an Operational Readiness Inspection that will test their ability to perform under wartime scenarios.

"We look at their ability to get out of Dodge. Can they get their people in? Can they check their records? Can they issue the equipment they need? Can they get the people on the airplane? Can they come up with a plan?" Legrand said. "The cops are going to have to secure the base and then we are going to attack the base. ... All hell breaks loose. ... So how do you plan to take care of your losses? Show us that. Show us you can execute things that you don't think about on a day-to-day basis, when you see a tanker taking off. The air crew is such a small piece. It takes this whole support body to launch those airplanes."

For the next several days, 916th airmen will be "deployed" to an undisclosed location -- proving they have what it takes to keep their active duty counterparts in the fight.

Wing Commander Col. Randall Ogden is confident those under his command will meet the high standards set by the IG team.

"We have this attitude, it's one of our core values, 'Excellence in all we do.' So they are motivated. They are excited to show the IG team what we can do," he said. "We understand that it is, somewhat, the white-glove approach. It must be perfect. But we're confident, though, that we've worked hard and that we're ready."

The wing's ORI grade will not be reported until next week.

But Legrand said Air Mobility Command officials would be pleased with a "Satisfactory."

"A 'Satisfactory' is good. It means you're doing everything well. You're doing everything that needs to be done. You're doing everything quickly," he said. "But our folks are so good. People don't realize the caliber of folks we have in the military. They are so good at their jobs that I expect them to do well every single time."