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NEWS | Oct. 31, 2011

Final rehearsal prepares Team Charleston for ORI

By Senior Airman Ian Hoachlander Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Airmen from Joint Base Charleston began returning home Oct. 29, following a week-long exercise at the Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport, Miss.

More than 600 Airmen deployed to form the 121st Air Expeditionary Wing as part of exercise Operation Crisis Look, in which Charleston Airmen and C-17 aircraft simulated a deployment to Nagoya, Japan, to support U.S. and allied military operations on the Korean peninsula.

The Operational Readiness Exercise focused on both the readiness of the units of Joint Base Charleston and their capabilities of deploying and working in contingency operations.

Scenarios Airmen participated in tested both individual units and the wing as a whole on the response and recovery capabilities from conventional threats, chemical threats and ground attacks. The wing was also tested a base security stand point.

"The ORE is important because it is our last test or practice of our deployment procedures and policies prior to the Operational Readiness Inspection," said Col. Erik Hansen, 437th Airlift Wing commander and the deployed 121st AEW commander. "This ORE will be the final opportunity to evaluate our deployment process in the same manner the Air Mobility Command inspectors will test us."

As part of the exercise, Airmen from each wing processed through the base mobility line in less than 48 hours. In addition to the amount of Airmen processed, more than 215 short tons of cargo was processed, palletized and loaded onto the aircraft.

This ORE, Team Charleston proved its deployment readiness was more focused then the previous exercise, said Lt. Col. Steven Noll, 437th Airlift Wing ORI lead planner and the deployed 121st AEW Installation Control Center executive.

"This ORE was more involved than the last because we were able to fully fill all the UTCs that are tasked for the ORI, where during the last ORE we had to shortfall about 80 to 100 positions due to real-world deployments and manning issues," he said. "Additionally, the sense of realism was improved and personnel were even more focused since the ORI is only one month away. I saw many more personnel with their 'game faces' on. They were actually playing the game as if it was real and that is the mentality we need for this inspection."

The ORI is scheduled to begin Nov. 29 and run through Dec. 6.

"We will absolutely be ready by the time the AMC inspectors arrive at the end of November," Noll said. "There is always more training or planning that can be done, but I am 100 percent confident in the abilities and professionalism of our Airmen to get the job done. There is no doubt in my mind we will achieve an 'excellent' standard on the ORI and with a little extra polish and a positive attitude, an 'outstanding' is not unachievable."