Initial response - the first phase of an ORI
By Staff Sgt. Emily Alley, 190th ARW Public Affairs
/ Published July 09, 2009
FORBES FIELD ANGB, Topeka, Kan. -- Deploying to an ORI takes months of meticulous training for those Airmen who will be evaluated for their job knowledge and skills. However, what is often overlooked are the months of planning, hundreds of personnel and tons of cargo that contribute to a successful deployment.
This graded phase of the ORI is called the Initial Response (IR), and it accounts for 25 percent of a wing's grade for the inspection. Needless to say, a well-planned, well-executed IR was critical if the 190th wanted to have any chance of scoring a satisfactory or above.
The Inspector General (IG) is also aware of how difficult it is to plan for an ORI. "The hard part is over- getting ready for us to roll in," said Col. John "Woody" Almind, team chief for the Air Mobility Command IG charged with examining the 190 ARW.
Almind started his initial briefing to the 190th complementing the maintenance of the KC-135 that had flown him and his crew to the base. "Even at 48 years old," he said, "it's a great looking aircraft."
Within a time crunch of 72 hours, those great looking aircraft had to transport 300 people and tons of equipment out of Kansas for the inspection. 1st Lt. Penny Jamvold, 190th Installation Deployment Officer, was tasked with preparing and performing, among other things, the IR. She agreed the arduous preliminary work was worth it.
"I could tell everyone had put in time and effort," she said. "I was very proud of them."
After logging countless hours during the planning stages of the IR, many members felt it ran smoothly - they were prepared for the inspection.
Staff Sgt. Crystal Crews, a Unit Deployment Manager (UDM), was ready. "We've been practicing for too long. There's no reason to get crazy now," Crews explained as she efficiently flipped through Unit Control Center documents and checklists, hours before leaving for the ORI. "I was way more stressed out a week before this."
Jamvold was impressed with support from senior leadership and the effort of UDMs because "good UDMs are obvious when they invest in the deployment process."
The pressure of assuring training records and requirements were current, especially for traditional guardsmen who may not have access to them, prepared Crews, and other UDMs, for impressing the IG.
The inspectors sought to assess several areas of the 190th, including details such as OPSEC and safety. Attitude was another detail the IG emphasized and, according to Jamvold, was a quality that distinguished the unit.
Motivation, optimism and dedication were evident, even for augmentees, who were not even deploying for the inspection.
"I volunteered because I knew they needed help loading bags," said Tech. Sgt. Randall Tindle on the first night of the IR. "I'm working from midnight to noon, maybe longer. It's not over until everything is loaded."
Tindle, a member of the 190th Communications Flight, and other unit members took initiative to help when volunteers were requested. That attitude contributed greatly to the Wing's overall grade.
"We did get good support from augmentees," said Jamvold. "They worked hard."
That work ethic is something that could benefit the unit in five years, when preparation starts for the next ORI.
Jamvold offered advice: "Instead of falling into bad habits and shortcuts, keep up the good work you're doing now."
"Maintain accountability of the lessons learned from the last one," added Crews. She suggested the lag between ORIs creates a challenge, remembering expectations between inspections.
If preparation was, as Almind suggested, the hardest part of the inspection, following that advice will help make the unit ready - even years from now.