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Base ORI in full swing

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Dyess is in the throes of an operational readiness inspection, after months of preparation.

The Phase II ORI, conducted by the Air Combat Command Inspector General team, is a test of Dyess’ ability to survive and operate in a deployed environment.

The ACC IG team is comprised of approximately 100 inspectors, led by Col. Michael Rollison, ACC IG team chief. Roughly 100 observers from other bases have also come, particularly from bomber bases including Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.

Dyess has conducted four operational readiness exercises since September to ensure success in this week’s inspection.

Colonel James Hammes, 7th Bomb Wing IG, said he and Col. Garrett Harencak, 7th BW commander, along with other members of Dyess’ leadership, have been working 24/7 with the ACC IG team to observe sortie generation, crews, employment of weapons systems, and many other aspects of wartime operations.

“When we come here for the IG, ur primary goal is to evaluate the combat readiness of Dyess (the 7th Bomb Wing) and see how well they’re able to do the job,” said Colonel Rollison. “My expectations are for the 7th BW to do as they’ve been trained to do in combat.”

But the 7th BW has taken that goal one step further.

“Our goal for Dyess is to score an ‘outstanding’ on this ORI,” Colonel Hammes said. “We just know we’re going to ‘wow’ the socks off the ACC IG team, from the first moment they step off the plane ‘til the landing gear picks up and they depart again.”

He said all the base’s previous exercises have been extremely helpful because the “crawl, walk, run” process prepared the base, especially new members, to be 100 percent up to speed on inspection procedures.

“This ORI isn’t just a demonstration of our ability to survive,” Colonel Hammes said. “It demonstrates our ability to go to war. This is what we train for. We’re not fine-tuning our skills; we’re preparing to deploy and fight the global war on terrorism and execute the mission under mortar, missile and air attacks.”

The grading scale ACC will be using will place Dyess in one of five categories: unsatisfactory, marginal, satisfactory, excellent or outstanding.

“We want the top grade,” Colonel Hammes said. “We’ve worked too hard not to do our best and strut our stuff.”

“It’s achievable” Colonel Hammes said, “to exceed the standards and water the inspectors eyes.”

Base leadership has prepared a post-ORI party that is scheduled to begin when the ACC team departs, Colonel Hammes said.

The purpose is to celebrate the work that’s gone into scoring well on the ORI, and will take place whether Dyess gets satisfactory or outstanding ratings.

“I just want to say thanks to all the folks who have prepared for this (ORI),” Colonel Hammes said.

“There has been a lot of effort from everyone on base, and we fully expect to get an outstanding,” he said.