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ORE Explained - Part 2, Sharpshooter 2010

Barnes Air National Guard Base, 104 Fighter Wing - Westfield, Mass -- Benjamin Franklin once said, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." The wisdom of the American statesman was not lost on the members of the 104th as they prepared for and executed the Operational Readiness Exercise (Sharpshooter 10-02) on the Apr/May UTA.

The purpose of the exercise was to generate and deploy an F-15C Aviation Package to Base X, recover and regenerate for combat operations in theatre.

Over 400 airmen were mobilized and all unit members played a role in the two-day exercise designed to prepare Airmen for the deployment process if they were called to active duty. Identifying challenges associated with deploying is a key Component of the drill. Each section is faced with tasks and challenges unique to its capabilities.

Senior Master Sgt. James Burke of the Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) has managed several inspections during his time at the 104th. Logistics is responsible for ensuring that personnel and equipment arrive to the intended destination during the scheduled time.

"We are accomplishing and fine tuning our processes. Every time we improve and adapt so they work better. The last three exercises, we operated from three different areas to get personnel flowing and cargo to flow in the most efficient way," he said.

"The process has been smoother than last time. By identifying shortfalls in paperwork -we have improved in that area-we provide better supporting documentation for the inspectors," he noted. "During this exercise, we will be close to 100 percent. If we can't fill a position, we are going to show them why and give them a good reason and hopefully eliminate the possibility of any sort of write up," Burke said.

Tech. Sgt. James McMullen, the Unit Deployment Manager (UDM) for the Force Support Squadron (FSS), was pleased with the performance of unit members and shared his view of what he focuses on. "Accuracy amongst all the personnel in the unit and making sure all the folders are the same," he said. "Communication and attention to detail are also very important," he said. "It flowed well on Friday and our pax was ahead of schedule for most report times. Some minor details need to be worked out but we are improving each time," observed McMullen.

At the Medical Group, the functions are distinct but the mission is the same-generating personnel through the deployment process. Maj. Dave Archambault, the senior health administrator, explained some of the elements of the process, "The preparation started a few months ago. We had to pull everyone's medical records that were processing and make sure they are medically qualified to deploy. The deployment line went fairly smooth," he said. "It is important to remember that if unit members experience a change in medical status, we need to know prior to the exercise," he advised.

Maj. Gary Archambault, the public health officer, deployed in one of the chalks and echoed his brother's sentiment. "You might go to your doctor for medicine and it may not classify you as non deployable. If there is no replacement and they shortfall the position--then it affects the bigger mission," he said. "If you are having your blood drawn or get a shot, try to get it done prior to the exercise. Over 200 shots were administered in the line and it is not the ideal place for it," he cautioned. "We need to ensure that the computer records match the hard copies."

Sharpshooter (10-02) was designed to evaluate the way our members were able to prepare unit personnel to travel overseas in support of a federal activation. The simulated deployment, designed to identify shortfalls and inconsistencies, was considered a success.

"Overall, this exercise was a huge success. Although the inspectors found many areas needing improvement, I'm confident we'll get squared away in time for next summer's Phase I inspection," Col EJ Gunning, 104th Mission Support Group Commander, said after Sunday's exercise out brief. "Sometimes it can be a little tough to hear you're not doing things correctly, but, it's this constructive criticism that provides the roadmap for us to reach our goal - an OUTSTANDING grade for the Operational Readiness Inspection."