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ORE shows base progress toward ORI

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Official grades for the 28th Bomb Wing’s Phase II Operational Readiness Exercise Jan. 30 through Feb. 1 weren’t available by press time, however, exercise officials stressed the wing is headed in the right direction.

“The wing is making progress,” said Lt. Col. Lucien Grise, 28th BW wing plans division chief. “We’re learning what still needs work, and we’re identifying solutions for the problems we’ve encountered.”

The fact the wing is progressing toward a satisfactory performance in July’s operational readiness inspection should be especially encouraging considering one of the key squadrons involved was participating for the first time.

“Considering the 37th Bomb Squadron hasn’t participated in an exercise in eight months, they did real well,” said Senior Master Sgt. Larry Osborne, 28th BW wing plans division superintendent.

Exercise officials pointed out several areas that showed improvement from the Phase II ORE held in November. Among those were bug-out procedures, ability to survive and operate, and the 28th Security Forces Squadron’s defense of critical assets. Officials also said exercise participants showed a better familiarity with the Airman’s Manual.

However, there is still room for improvement.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing where we need to be for a satisfactory score across the board for the ORI, I’d say we’re at about a 7.5,” said Master Sgt. Paul Reiter, 28th BW wing exercises and evaluations superintendent. “Attitude is really the only thing left for us to improve upon.”

Exercise officials hope to see more urgency from exercise participants.

“People need to take the exercise more seriously,” Sergeant Osborne said. “We’ve had lots of exercises, and we’ve got more to come, but everyone needs to get in the frame of mind that this isn’t a game - we’re training for the ORI.”

That includes every Ellsworth member.

“The July ORI is a wing tasking, and we will very definitely give a wing response,” said Col. Jeffry Smith, 28th BW commander. “All Airmen are either directly playing in the inspection or supporting it in one way or another. I have every confidence we’ll do extremely well.”