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Pope Leads The Way

  • Published
  • By Col. John Gordy
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Vice Commander
Greetings Team Pope! It's game time. Yes, the scrimmages are over and we're just two days away from the start of our Operational Readiness Inspection and demonstrating to the Air Mobility Command Inspector General team exactly how good we are. I think it's fair to say we're more than ready. 

Looking back on the preparation we've gone through to ensure our success, I think you can all be proud of how far we've come. Although I am confident we could have always met any tasking to deploy large numbers from Pope in accordance with Air Force Instructions (as evidenced in our very first exercise), our preparation has afforded us the opportunity to identify and correct shortfalls and streamline our processes to make them even better. And whether you know it or not, many of the good ideas that improved our processes did not originate with the Commanders, but rather with the young Airmen and Non-commissioned officers that own these processes. Thanks to these individuals, we are now working smarter, not harder. Which, by the way, is exactly what AFSO21 is all about -- but we'll save that topic for another day. 

As most of you know, an ORI is the single most significant inspection a base can receive. It is given to validate the readiness of the installation and personnel to conduct the mission during both peacetime and contingency operations. All of you should be proud of your efforts to get ready for this inspection and embrace the opportunity to showcase your talents to the IG team. Some have asked over the past few months why we are doing an ORI when the base is scheduled for realignment under BRAC law. The answer to this question is easy: the ORI evaluates an individual's ability to accomplish a mission. Everyone needs to be ready to process, deploy, and survive. When you leave Pope, everyone is expected to be ready to deploy on a moment's notice. To ensure we can do this effectively, we exercise this capability and receive validation from the Command. When your day comes to change duty stations, your next Commander will expect you to have these skills. And for those of you who have been participating and supporting our ORI preparations, I KNOW you have these skills. 

Colonel McDonald and I are very proud of the effort Team Pope has put forth, not only getting ready for this ORI, but towards the EOHCAMP, LSEP, and HSI inspections. These past six months have been extremely busy and we have asked a lot from you and every time, you delivered ... EOHCAMP-Excellent, LSEP-Excellent, and HSI-Excellent (with the highest Air Force numerical grade given in three years). We know the ORI will be no different. PEOPLE, MISSION, MOTIVATION! This is our motto and you all execute it every day. 

So, on Sunday afternoon, the IG team will land and shortly thereafter we will begin our Phase I processing. By noon Tuesday, all of our fly-away personnel will be airborne and on their way to Base X, to demonstrate our ability to fall in on a bare base and survive and operate. All the long days and nights of preparation are over. Sixteen Airman's Manual tests are complete. Now it is time to execute and show our Command exactly what Team Pope can do. Don't let up. Remember to follow all the published safety guidelines, wear your PPE, utilize good OPSEC/COMSEC procedures, and stay focused with a positive attitude. Lou Holtz once said, "Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you can do. Attitude determines how well you do it." I know we have the ability, the motivation, and attitude. It's time to execute!