Monday, July 26, 2010

Viewpoint: Beyond the ORI

After nearly two years of exercises and inspections, Airmen can finally look ahead

By Col. John Hoff
442nd Fighter Wing vice commander

How would you sum up the last nine months in one word? My word choice…. ADVERSITY (ad•ver•si•ty) – an extremely unfavorable experience, hardship or suffering.

We all experience adversity in our family, personal and work lives. From adversity comes strength, depth of character and confidence. I witnessed those qualities in every member of the 442nd Fighter Wing during the operational readiness inspection phase II retake. Your hard work, dedication and commitment to duty are overwhelming and again proved the 442nd FW can fly-fight and win. To say "Thank you", the human resources development council is sponsoring two events during the August and September unit training assemblies.

The Wright Flight golf tournament in August is a charity and social event. Money collected from donations and the entrance fee will directly impact our disadvantaged and at-risk youths in the local community. Many 442nd FW alumni will return to participate in the tournament. The fee is $40 per person, which includes food, drinks and a small donation.

The family day barbecue is the yearly get together for all wing members and their families. The Fishnet Securities barbecue team will cater this event with ribs, chicken, and brisket. This year's coordinator, Capt. Keith Yersak, 442nd FW executive officer, has planned many activities. These include a chip-overthe-pond contest and longest drive competitions, a car show, a volleyball tournament, kid's games and paddle boats. I hope to see many of you at the picnic and to meet your families.

Starting in late August, the aviation package will deploy three times to practice new combat skills and exercise the capabilities of our A-10C Warthogs. Six aircraft, 15 pilots and 45 maintenance personnel will deploy to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, from Aug. 27 to Sept. 2. For the first time, unit maintainers will build and load and pilots will employ live GBU-38 500-pound GPS-guided bombs. Pilots will also drop laser-guided bombs and cluster munitions.

The 303rd Fighter Squadron will deploy all its pilots and six A-10s to Key West, Fla. in November for water survival and air combat training. A small maintenance package will accompany the 303rd FS.

In late January, the aviation package will participate in Red Flag at Nellis AFB, Nev. This large-force exercise demonstrates our ability to integrate in multi-ship high- and low-threat environments. Red Flag is a "right of passage" for every fighter pilot.

The next six months are challenging and the operations tempo is high. Extra vigilance toward safety and operational risk management is warranted.

Following Red Flag, a new inspection cycle begins. Lt. Col. Steve "Chappie" Chappel, 442nd Operations Support Flight commander, will prepare the wing for our Air Combat Command operational readiness phase I inspection. The aviation package will demonstrate the wing's ability to generate, deploy and regenerate. The ACC team will evaluate all aspects of "getting out of town" to include mobility bags, personal readiness folders, and pallet buildup. Colonel Chappel will publish a detailed training schedule for the August inspection.

I am proud to be a member of the 442nd FW. I am ready for the next year and look forward to the challenges ahead.

Screen shot from the PDF file: Col. John Hoff, 442nd Fighter Wing vice commander, in the cockpit of an unidentified A-10. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Danielle Wolf)


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