Nearly 400 Airmen from Delaware Air Guard engaged in week-long Air Force Operational Readiness Inspection

Release Number: 020309

Nearly 400 Airmen from Delaware Air Guard engaged in week-long Air Force Operational Readiness Inspection

Media availability at New Castle Air Base on Monday, March 30, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. only. Media must call by 11:00 p.m. tonight or early Monday morning to coordinate.

Contact: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
Public Affairs Specialist, 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard
Cell 302-593-2126, or Office 302-323-3369
E-mail: Benjamin.Matwey@ang.af.mil
Release No. 2009-03-002, March 29, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW CASTLE, DELAWARE - Nearly 400 Airmen of the Delaware Air National Guard's 166th Airlift Wing began an Air Force Operational Readiness Inspection today in New Castle, beginning a week of wartime readiness training.

The formal inspection began after nearly 30 inspectors from Headquarters, Air Mobility Command, arrived in New Castle this morning aboard a Delaware ANG C-130 aircraft. They will inspect the wing, assigning grades for performance. The beginning phase of the inspection, already underway, is known as the initial response phase, and is the first of four phases.

Over the course of the week, three additional phases will be inspected; the employment phase, the mission support phase, and the ability to survive and operate phase.

On Monday an advance team of several dozen Delaware ANG Airmen will fly away aboard military aircraft to the Combat Readiness Training Center at the Alpena Air National Guard Base in Alpena, Mich.

On Tuesday the main body will fly away from New Castle to Alpena. All Airmen are expected home by Sunday.

Once in Alpena, the Delaware Airmen will work side-by-side with over three hundred fellow Airmen from the 146th Airlift Wing of the California Air National Guard based in Channel Islands, California. Members will work day and night shifts to test their ability to defend the base and keep flying the C-130 transport aircraft, the units' main weapons system.

Last November both units trained together at Alpena for an Air Force Operational Readiness Exercise to help prepare for this ORI. The Delaware wing is the lead unit for this inspection.

Hundreds of members of the Delaware ANG have deployed overseas to Southwest Asia for contingency operations in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, and more will deploy overseas again this fall to Afghanistan, but this mandatory Air Force inspection is different.

The purpose of the ORI is to evaluate the unit on its wartime mission. "This is all about readiness," said 166th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Jonathan Groff.

"Our people have done a magnificent job before and after 9/11 to defend our nation abroad and help fellow citizens at home, such as supporting humanitarian relief missions before and after Gulf Coast hurricanes," said Col. Groff. "This ORI is an opportunity for the Air Force Inspector General team to test our capabilities to deploy to a distant location, survive and operate in a simulated chemical warfare environment, and employ back home. It validates to Air Force Combatant Commanders that we are capable of doing our job effectively."

"I am very proud of the men and women of the 166th Airlift Wing. I've watched and trained side-by-side with them as we prepare for this test, and I know we are ready to come out on top during this week's inspection," said Col. Groff.

Airmen will work under adverse weather conditions. "The weather forecast for Alpena is normal for this time of year, with rain, snow, wind and ice conditions that we will endure while keeping our people safe," said Col. Groff.

The Delaware Air National Guard is a reserve component of the U.S. Air Force with 1,100 positions under command of the Governor of Delaware, or the President of the United States when mobilized. The Delaware ANG has been serving Delaware and the United States of America since 1946.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

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