Editor’s Note: The 115th Fighter Wing was recently evaluated in an Operational Readiness Inspection by the Air Combat Command Inspector General Team to determine if the unit is ready to deploy people and equipment overseas for contingency operations. This is a story of an Airman who successfully made it through her first ORI.
After five Operational Readiness Exercises, hours of entering Next of Kin information and going over possible scenarios, the final Operational Readiness Inspection arrived.
My partner in crime during every ORE and for the final inspection was Master Sgt. Bob Vanlanen, who I’m sure everyone on base knows as the Retention lifesaver. He was very prominent in every ORE to make sure that every person’s NOK was submitted and correct.
So going into this inspection without him being around or available, I was a bit…nervous. I was confident in my ability to create build and create a manifest, but I knew there was more to the program that I didn’t know and was praying that the Inspector General wasn’t going to ask me crazy questions.
Right off the bat when Vanlanen and I met the IG, he asked us several questions referring to our continuity binder, where we had certain regulations in print and so on.
We both stared at him like a deer in headlights.
After the IG left to another station, Vanlanen and I both got on the computers and were looking for regulations to print, and started our continuity binder. We both did extensive research on our down-time and scrambled to better prepare.
The ORI was going smooth. VanLanen weighed the passengers while I built the manifest, and then gave me the weights so I could complete the manifest. Piece of cake — did this every ORE. I felt like I could do this in my sleep!
After communicating with other processing elements, it was relayed that one of the chalks mission numbers was incorrect. I THOUGHT I knew how to change this, but came to realize I didn’t have certain rights and, well … I couldn’t change it easily. After a quick call to the a help desk, I finally figured it out and started to quickly re create the new 100+ passenger manifest; which was needed ASAP.
Well, unfortunately I cracked under pressure and didn’t pay as close to detail as I should have and ended up putting one wrong person on the new manifest that should not of been on.
It caused a whole fiasco. Sergeant Vanlanen and I were already gone before the mistake was caught and had to end up coming back to base. I messed up. I was so mad at myself and knew I should’ve taken my time, but I admitted to my mistake and explained what went wrong and promised it would never happen again. I still kept my positive attitude.
My original personnel staff who were working the PDF said to not let it get to me and that I have been rocking the manifest section every ORE. They were all extremely supportive and knew that I worked hard, and encouraged me to stay positive.
I was extremely proud that I was able to maintain a positive attitude after messing up the first day, work hard and perfect each manifest. The IG told me how impressed he was with my positive attitude, how I researched regulations and quickly created a continuity binder, and he presented me an IG coin — one of eight handed out to the 115th during this inspection.
I have never smiled so big.
This was my first ORI and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that mistakes can happen, but a positive attitude and teamwork can get us through anything.
I know my team and I are all stronger because of this inspection and I think that’s the most important take away.
I would have not been able to do any of it without Master Sgt. Vanlanen, a supportive personnel staff, including Capt. Thomas Bauer and Lt. Allen Nielson.
Everyone around me was so helpful, hardworking and positive as well. Each and every one of them deserves part of that coin for their hard work.
It was a crazy ORI, but we made it and passed!