Wing tests wartime readiness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Chasity Lollis
  • 147th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 147th Reconnaissance Wing participated in an Operational Readiness Exercise here at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Texas, April 1-6, 2014.

An exercise evaluation team assessed the members on their ability to ensure operational readiness in a simulated war-time scenario.

Players were evaluated on the speed and accuracy of their responses during rocket attacks, mass casualties, aircraft fires and fuel leaks.

OREs are conducted once a year or every other year in order to facilitate necessary deployment training.

"We want to keep our people sharp," said Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Gulley, the command post non-commissioned officer in charge. "There's a turnover with personnel over a period of time, and we want to train the new people with the additional skills required in a war time environment."

In the beginning of every exercise, airmen struggle to remember what their Airman's Manual says or what they should do when the alarm sounds over the loud speaker, Gulley said.

For the traditional guardsman, this training is important because guard members are as equally likely to deploy as their active duty counterparts.

"It's all about learning lessons, learning how to do your job better for the next time, so when we go into a real-world situation, people are more comfortable," Gulley said. "Folks may not have the opportunity to do some of these things on a daily basis, so it's all about repetition and training."

EETs aren't the only ones who oversee these types of exercises. Safety officers also play an integral role in making sure the training goes smoothly.

Master Sgt. Todd Wilson, the weapons safety manager for the wing, explained all the moving parts that go into safety's role in these kinds of exercises.

"Our role in safety is the same whether it's during a deployment - before or after," Wilson said.

Besides looking for the normal violations, like people driving too fast or not wearing their seatbelts, safety personnel also look to make sure players are using the proper protective equipment when things like explosions happen, Wilson added.

As someone who's participated in multiple exercises and deployed several times, Gulley provided some parting wisdom to young airmen involved in OREs.

"Have patience," Gulley said. "No matter how long you've been in the service, you definitely need to dust the rust off."