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From Preparation To Execution

  • Published
  • By Col. John McDonald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
By the time you read this, our fourth mobility exercise of the year will be wrapped up and we'll be one step closer to almost 300 of our Airmen flying to Alpena, Mich. for the ORE in September, and then successfully executing our Headquarters Air Mobility Command Operational Readiness Inspection at the end of October. 

The most recent successful MOBEX sends a powerful statement - we are ready! The ORE, which is Sept. 2 through 6, is a precursor to the ORI. Think of it as a read-ahead for the actual test of the ORI, dress rehearsal before the "real thing" in October. 

You've done a great job keeping your skills sharp within your work centers between the MOBEXs. The building blocks are evident; we've gone from crawl (MOBEX 1 and 2) to walk (MOBEX 3) to run (MOBEX 4), but continue taking the weekly Airman's Manual tests and executing table top exercises within your work centers, as these preparations will make the difference when we execute the ORE and ORI. 

At the same time, we have to be careful that we don't hit our peak performance too soon. That's why you need to continue to take leave when you can, and enjoy the events going on here at Pope in conjunction with spending time with your family. 

Focusing on our families led me to select Aug. 25 as a down day. Aug. 25 is the first day of school in the local area, and I thought by taking it as a down day to reward the Wing's efforts to surpass 43 days without a DUI, parents may be able to calm some of their children traditional first-day "jitters" and then spend a day with their spouse without the children! 

Now I know there are some squadrons that won't be able to take advantage of the Aug. 25 date since it is the first day of our next Joint Forcible Entry Exercise, but your commanders will work with you to make sure that if you work Aug. 25 as part of the JFEX, or any other reason, you get a down day at some point before or after. 

Also, there are still plenty of activities going on as we move toward the last several weeks of summer. Unfortunately I was TDY, but everyone I've talked to told me that last week's Pope Regatta was one of the best in years. It's great to hear about so much participation and support for events that are part of the Team Pope tradition. 

Pope Box Derby is another of Pope's traditional events. I can't wait to see some of the cars we'll have out on Reilly Street Aug. 21. Even if you aren't building or driving a car, come out and support your squadron members and the rest of Team Pope. 

I know lots of our children look forward to the one day a year where they can bring their floats into the Pope Pool; they'll have that opportunity on Aug. 29 at this year's Pope Floats. I encourage everyone to attend -- it's just plain fun! 

And in case you missed it, Pope Icon kicked off with a week-long audition process, and now we'll find out who the best of the best are on Aug. 8 and 15 at the semifinals and finals, respectively. Come out to the Pope Theater and see who we will be sending off to Scott Air Force Base, Ill. to compete at the AMC Icon event in October. 

Base participation for all our events this summer has been good and I know it will continue. I was happy to see people out to support the Quarterly Awards Luncheon last week, and I hope to see you out today at 2 p.m. for the Wing Promotion Ceremony to congratulate Team Pope's newest NCO and SNCO promotees. Remember, it absolutely takes the Team Pope effort for us to be successful, whether prepping for the ORI or participating in numerous 43rd Force Support Squadron events, I need your involvement. And I always need you to be SAFE, keep your eye on your WINGMAN and don't be THAT GUY!