ORI, a spouse's view

  • Published
  • By Christina Miller
  • Spouse Writers Corps
Twelve-hour shifts, weekend duty, increased aircraft overhead, alerts and announcements over the loud speaker known as "the giant voice." These are experiences we all have grown accustomed to while stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

In October, however, we endured an increase in these activities, as Ellsworth prepared for and passed the 2010 Phase II Operational Readiness Inspection.

But, how often did we pause before, or after, the inspection to think about what exactly an ORI is? The more we understand the workings of our loved ones' careers the better we can support them, and the more focused they can be on the 28th Bomb Wing's mission of putting bombs on target.

So, what is an ORI? What is the point of these exercises and inspections?

ORIs are extremely detailed and meticulous examinations, with more than 300 graded parts. According to Master Sgt. David DeVault of the 28th BW wing plans office, ORIs are executed by an inspector general team made up of senior non-commissioned officers who are subject-matter experts in the fields being tested.

ORIs must be performed on all units at a wing that, according to Air Force Instruction 90-201, have "a wartime, contingency or force sustainment mission." At Ellsworth, the bomb wing staff and units in all four groups--operations, maintenance, mission support, and medical--were tested.

After an inspection, the IG team issues an overall performance rating, based on a five-tier scale: "outstanding, excellent, satisfactory, marginal and unsatisfactory." Air base wings that receive a rating below "satisfactory" must test again. Since 1996, Ellsworth has received only one overall score below "satisfactory," during a Phase I ORI, which focused on pre-deployment preparations, in 2007. Ellsworth received a "satisfactory" rating when it re-tested in 2008.

Team Ellsworth scored a "satisfactory" rating during the October 2010 ORI. This inspection was a Phase II inspection, which meant it focused on a simulated deployment. During the ORI, our spouses were tested on their performances of proper job techniques; ability to protect and defend themselves, their comrades and their area; as well as, their knowledge of the Airman's Manual. Each unit in our Ellsworth Air Force family was integral to the success of the mission and the success of the ORI.

While not everyone was directly involved in the 2010 inspection, we must remember that we were all players in it. The end result rested on everyone's ability to project positive attitudes and support one another. Non-players picked up extra duties for those directly involved in the inspection; family members on the home front were patient, understanding and filled with pride in their loved ones, while enduring their absences and the added stress long hours brought.

With the ORI now over, we can all take a sigh of relief and share in the success of our Airmen. We now have proof that Ellsworth is prepared to "fly, fight and win."