"Where Are We Going in 2010?"

  • Published
  • By Col. William T. Cahoon
  • 459 ARW Commander
Well, 2009 went by in a blur. Busy, busy, busy. And so, where are we going in 2010? We spent the majority of 2009 preparing for inspections, being inspected, or responding to inspection write-ups. All that helped us get our foundational programs on a sound footing, and now all we have to do is keep those programs on track! That won't be easy, but it is always easier to stay ahead than catch up. This year we will focus on doing our operational mission or practice our operational mission. Come late spring, nearly a quarter of our wing will be mobilized and deployed around the world helping to protect freedom and our way of life. Before, during, and after that mobilization and deployment period, the rest of us will practice mobilizing, the ability to survive and operate, aircraft generation, 8010 Operation Plan operations, etc.

Our focus must be on mission readiness and mission accomplishment. Immediately after the Jan UTA we will conduct a limited Nuclear Operational Readiness Exercise (NORE). This will allow us to once again practice this high visibility, critical mission. It requires detailed work under a time constraint, and close attention to compliance with security and command and control guidance. We will follow that by another Mobility Exercise (MOBEX) during our March UTA. We will build on the experience we gained during our Nov UTA MOBEX. This time we will include cargo build-up and processing in addition to processing personnel through the mobility line. The first MOBEX was a refresher The March MOBEX will demand we go all out to ensure timely, accurate processing with a strong command and control of the process. We will also work closely with the host 316th Wing since they directly support our deployment process.

Of course, since we will mobilize and deploy for real in late April, it is imperative that we get it right. The March MOBEX will provide us plenty of opportunity to practice. Throughout the next couple of months we will spend much time preparing, planning, and training in anticipation of the deployments. We will have nearly 400 personnel going through week long pre-deployment training sessions to get ready for the deployment. We are a team, and getting our folks, aircraft and equipment out of town will require all of our support; we all have a critical role to play! Also, there is no doubt that our deploying personnel and the alternates must ensure they are ready to go--training, medical, mobility folder, and fitness-wise.

We will have a sound plan to provide strong family support to all our deployed members. Our squadrons, first sergeants, Family Support Office and Yellow Ribbon program coordinator are creating a comprehensive, consolidated plan to meet our families' needs. It will be a challenge with our Reserve families scattered around the countryside, but we are looking at creative ways to keep in touch with them, and to help them get knowledgeable and stay knowledgeable about military benefits. We want them to have names and numbers to contact if they need assistance.

Once our deployers are out the door and the rest of us are going to come back, over the summer we will begin to dip our toes in the Chemical Warfare Defense training game again; it has been a while. We need to refresh our knowledge of our CWD gear, its proper wear and care, and how to respond in the event of an attack. We have two years from Jun 2010 to get ready for our next Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection/Operation Readiness Inspection (NORI/ORI) and we will be ready because we will have used that entire time to prepare in a methodical, thorough manner. You can expect a limited scenario based CWD training event in the fall, followed by a full-scale NORE in November.

I wish I could have said we had earned a year off, a year of picnics, sporting events and relaxation, but unfortunately the bad guys aren't taking a year off. Looking at recent news, I think they have decided to speed up their efforts to take us out. So it is our duty to get ready for them. After all, we are warriors, and we can never forget why we are in the military. Our own wing brothers and sisters will be on the line this summer and into the fall, alongside our Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and other Airmen. The war is not over; the toil, risk, sacrifice and discomfort not diminished. We must all be prepared to do our duty, and you can count on a demanding plan to do just that. You have proven yourselves in the past, and I know you are up to it again.