350 Delaware Air Guard Airmen leave New Castle for Mississippi Saturday Nov. 3 to conduct Air Force exercise

Release Number: 051007

Delaware Air National Guard
Headquarters, 166th Airlift Wing
2600 Spruance Drive
New Castle, DE 19720-1615 

News media have some opportunity to interview Airmen making preparations on Friday and to photograph two C-17 aircraft arriving 1:00-2:00pm Friday.

Location: Delaware Air Guard, 2600 Spruance Drive, New Castle, DE 19720

Contact: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
Delaware Air National Guard Public Affairs
Cell 302-593-2126
Release No. 2007-10-005 [Corrected Release No.]
Oct. 31, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW CASTLE, Delaware  - About 350 members of the Delaware Air National Guard's 166th Airlift Wing will board seven military aircraft this weekend to fly 995 miles to Gulfport, Mississippi, to complete a several day-long Air Force Operation Readiness Exercise (ORE) in preparation for a formal Operation Readiness Inspection (ORI) in May 2009.

The Airmen depart New Castle early morning Saturday November 3, and will arrive three-and-a-half hours later at the Air National Guard Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport, Miss., on the Gulf Coast. They will be joined by about 65 more Airmen from the 146th Airlift Wing, Channel Islands ANG Station from Southern California.

Two days of training and preparation for the exercise occur Sunday and Monday in Gulfport. The inspected exercise begins Tuesday morning and lasts all day. On Wednesday Nov. 7 aircraft bring the Airmen back home to the New Castle air base.

The Airmen are participating in a mandatory Air Force exercise leading up to a once-every-five-years Air Force ORI in March 2009. The inspection is designed to validate how effectively, efficiently, and safely the wing executes its assigned wartime or contingency missions, as well as complies with laws, instructions and regulations.

The air base gets busy Friday Nov. 2 through Saturday morning Nov. 3, with hundreds of Airmen, both part- and full-time members, arriving in the middle of the night. Airmen are checked to ensure they meet training and equipment requirements before boarding aircraft.

Seven aircraft will transport people and equipment from New Castle to Mississippi. There will be four 166th Airlift Wing C-130H transport aircraft from Delaware, one 146th Airlift Wing C-130J aircraft from California, and two C-17 transport aircraft from the 172nd Airlift Wing in Jackson, Miss.

As the Airmen conduct normal business Tuesday at the military facility in Mississippi, various scenarios will be tossed at them to simulate threats they could receive during wartime. A key exercise goal is the ability to survive and operate under adverse conditions. Airmen will have to quickly put on masks and uniforms to protect against biochemical attacks, and carry out various defensive measures while staying safe, communicating and exhibiting teamwork. Three of the Delaware C-130H transport aircraft will fly operations as part of the exercise, including low-level tactical flying in a three ship formation and performing airdrops. The California C-13OJ aircraft will fly an aeromedical evacuation training mission. An Exercise Evaluation Team will observe the Airmen and provide feedback to unit leadership.

While Delaware ANG Airmen continually deploy to wartime missions, they still must regularly prepare and practice so they can execute missions smoothly in real-world conditions.

"By participating in OREs we put our people in a grueling environment that we hope is more difficult than they will face in the combat zone," said Col. Daniel Van Wyk, maintenance group commander. He added that the preparation hones processes and skills that ORIs demand thorough training exercises. "This preparation creates the excellence we need to remain the world's top air force," said Col. Van Wyk.

"This several-day long ORE will be the same as the ORI but at a slower pace," said Chief Master Sgt. Emerson Wells, Logistics Plans Superintendent in the 166th Logistics Readiness Squadron. "We have a lot of newer people here who have never been on an ORI. We want to ensure they have the ability to survive and operate. A lot of these people have deployed in the real world but need to be able to operate in a textbook wartime scenario."

The 350 exercise participants from the Delaware Air Guard come from 71 unit type codes, or job functions, that are to be inspected. Two more exercises for training will occur in April and October 2008.

California and Delaware ANG Airmen began preparing for the upcoming inspection in May 2007 when eight Delaware Guardsmen visited California, followed by 26 members from the 146th AW visiting the 166th AW in July.

In May 2004 the Delaware ANG completed the last ORI and earned an overall grade of satisfactory with many units earning an excellent rating.

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

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