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5/19/2012 - 221 CBCS training during an Operational Readiness Exercise in Hensley Field Air Guard Station. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt Ladonna Singleton)
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Operational Readiness Exercise Prepares 221 CBCS Airmen

Posted 6/8/2012   Updated 6/8/2012 Email story   Print story


by Capt LaDonna Singleton
254 CCG

6/8/2012 - Hensley Air Guard Station, DALLAS  -- The 221 Combat Communications Squadron completed their operational readiness exercise (ORE) May 20 at home station, Hensley Field Air Guard Station in Dallas after four long days and nights of demanding training. "The ORE is a great opportunity for us to practice extending communications services to the war fighter in a bare-base environment while demonstrating the ability to survive and operate under conventional and chemical attacks", stated Maj. Joshlin Lewis, 221 CBCS commander.
To successfully train for operational readiness in a combat communications unit takes a joint effort between the Airmen who are "key players", the acting host nation and the exercise evaluation team (EET).
"I learned a lot this time around. I learn something new every time we do these exercises. The most influential persons that helped me throughout this exercise were Master Sgt. Jackson and Staff Sgt. Kellner. I am definitely more confident now than the last ORE. I was able to survive and operate because I took better care of myself to prepare for the exercise. Host nation was a great help with keeping up with the water supply and making sure our morale was up. The exercise allowed me to get a bigger picture of the network. The processes were more streamlined and the expectations were definitive allowing me to completely understand the requirements," stated Airman 1st Class Michael Mancuso, 221 CBCS cyberspace specialist.
Essential support was provided by the host nation support team led by Capt. Paul Krier, made up of members of the 221 CBCS with augmentees from the 254 CCG. "I was responsible for checking the generators and responding to calls. I also created spreadsheets for the host nation accountability," stated Senior Airman Laura Gohlke, 221 CBCS knowledge operations manager. "As host nation support, I was able to help sustain life by providing water and maintaining vigilance of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. I was responsible for checking the availability of water resources and provided support and supplies when needed. Host nation was available to accommodate the ORE/ORI players with air conditioned shelter when overexertion occurred. There was real world self-aid and buddy care equipment readily available. The most important aspect of host nation support was encouragement of safety first," stated Staff Sgt. Ashunta Murphy, 254 CCG personnel specialist.
The 221 CBCS is scheduled for an operational readiness inspection (ORI) by an Air Force Inspector General (IG) team in Sept. on their operational readiness and their ability to survive and operate in war time conditions. The 221 CBCS happens to be one of the aligned squadrons that are collocated with their 254th Combat Communications Group Headquarters. To help prep the squadron for their upcoming inspection, the 254 CCG provided an inspection team during the ORE. "The Exercise Evaluation Team led by the 254 CCG, has done a great job bringing together years of combat comm. experience and impressive cross-functional knowledge to help prepare the squadron for our upcoming inspection," stated Lewis.
Our job is to work with the commanders and find out what their objectives are. Basically, from the first ORE to the ORI we want to crawl, walk, run, and then sprint to the finish line. The EET increased injects at each ORE. We increased the scenarios to test the abilities to survive and operate in war time conditions. We use the criteria of the IG to prepare for the ORI by putting them through scenarios based on unit type codes, Air Force specialty codes and technical orders. We also work with the other squadrons to find collective subject matter experts for the right skill sets that meet the demand of the ORE/ORI. The battle rhythm, without squadron support, would not have been successful. Ultimately, their success is our success!
"As an EET member my job is to take the tasking and look at the specific skill set and mimic what the squadron has. I ensure each work space is technically ready to complete communication exercises from the IG perspective. EET pushes the members to strive to survive in a war time environment. We test the limits under extreme conditions such as MOPP levels, self-aid and buddy care, chemical attacks, and the outside environment. Our support to the ORE/ORI allows the group to reach out to the other squadrons, 264 CBCS, 232 CBCS, 236 CBCS, 239 CBCS, and the 221st CBCS. We use our resources and feedback to reengage communication flaws that provide consistency," stated Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Crawford, 254 CCG cyberspace manager.
"All in all the exercise was great, the best I have had yet. Host nation support did a wonderful job providing water quickly and there was no complaining. I think we are "ready." I know we are "ready," stated Tech. Sgt. Lawrence Thibeault, 221 CBCS radio frequency specialist.

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