Upcoming OREs not 'business as usual'

  • Published
  • By Col. Patrick Higby
  • Installation commander
Anyone who works at Hill Air Force Base is well aware of the sheer size of this installation, as well as the large scope of its many missions. Team Hill has six wings, 61 associate units, all of which fall under seven different major commands, and a total base population of more than 22,000.

With so many different people, having different missions and separate chains of command at Hill, it should be clear that training and exercising together is very important to ensure we can work together during any situation as well as maintain our combat readiness.

In preparation for our Operational Readiness Inspection this November, Hill will be conducting several Operational Readiness Exercises during the next few months to hone our skills and to make sure we are ready to survive any emergency, whether actual or exercise.

We have come a long way and have proven through previous exercises and many real world responses, we work together and very efficiently. However, like most things in life, there is always room for improvement.

One thing I do want to make clear to all personnel on Hill is we will not be approaching these OREs as "business as usual." Realize while we will be ramping up these exercises to prepare us for an ORI, they are also designed to prepare you for real world events.

In order to prepare for real world events we have to train as we would handle real world incidents.

One way we will be approaching these exercises differently is by limiting the amount of simulations during the OREs. The limited exercise simulations means more hands-on training and thus more time will be required to complete exercise scenarios.

Since every organization on base will be participating and affected in the OREs, it also means customers will be affected as well. I'm not saying each person on the base will be in body armor, I'm just reminding everyone there are procedures to be followed during responses, evacuations and protecting Team Hill and its assets. Everyone from the pharmacy to the flightline will be impacted ... no one is exempt.

So what does this mean to you?

Everyone should prepare to wait longer at service type organizations such as the medical clinic and the Hill Personnel Center. For our retirees and dependents, this would be a great week to avoid the base's customer service areas and quite possibly some disappointment. With the base preparing for its wartime mission, there will be a shortage of manpower in many areas of the base. For those of you who work in a customer service type position, be ready to calmly and professionally deal with upset customers.

You need to be patient when the base is "locked down" during training and evaluation of antiterrorism, emergency or any responses. Remember this is a military installation first and foremost and all of us, in or out of uniform, need to ensure we are ready for a worst-case scenario.

There are some dates coming up you need to be aware of; they are the scheduled Operational Readiness Exercise dates going through the end of the year. We have already begun this ORE June 16-25; then Aug. 5-14 and Oct. 2-8 all preparing for the first week in November when a joint Major Command inspection will begin.

I am confident we will be more than ready for our ORI when the time comes. Just realize one of our biggest enemies will be complacency. We have to stay on our toes and be ready to respond to anything at a moment's notice.

With the beginning of summer approaching I want everyone to take some time and spend it with their families and friends. Try to relax and recharge your batteries so we can be at peak performance come November.