Porters comb through Airman’s Manual in preparation for ORI

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman James Bolinger
  • 436th AW Public Affairs
Preparing for an operational readiness inspection is time consuming for any Air Force installation. Throughout the months of spin-up training and base-wide exercises, people who at one time were on ORI teams may change station or be tagged for a short-notice deployment.

According to Capt. Mark Heil, 436th Aerial Port Squadron Combat Readiness and Resources Flight commander, having team members PCS and deploy has been a challenge he has faced while preparing 436th APS Airmen for the inspection.

In fact, Captain Heil is the fourth officer to run the port's ORI team since training began. He replaced Capt. Aldreon Johnson, 436th APS, who is deploying to Iraq.

In order to get Airmen joining APS's ORI team on short notice up to speed, Captain Heil held weekly training sessions with all members of the team to train and build unit cohesion.

"The monthly DEPEXs and exercises are good but not enough to maintain team cohesion especially since many of the members work in different sections and on different shifts," said Capt. Heil. "We got the team together for two to three hours a week to go over the Airman's Manual, (Ability to Survive and Operate) drills and weapon function checks."

Weapon function checks and self-aid and buddy care training were areas of focus during the meetings, said Captain Heil.

"You could see it in the eyes of the people who had been training from day one that were thinking 'not this again,' but you could also tell that they were ready," he said. "It was tough joining the team as late as I did. The guys and gals had a look like, 'here comes change number 10.' I told them 'I'm new to the team but not to you guys. We've worked together before,' and they accepted it."

A resource Captain Heil said he and his team use regularly is the Airman's Manual, even playing games during briefings to familiarize themselves with the book.

"We had a squadron briefing with make-shift Jeopardy," said Airman 1st Class Nick Cross, 436th APS, who has been on the port's ORI team for almost one year and has deployed to Iraq. "We answered questions from the Airman's Manual to get more familiar with it."

"Everyone knows stuff about self-aid and buddy care, but I always tell them to double check their Airman's Manual if they have a question," said Captain Heil.

While deployed, porters perform a variety of duties including palletizing cargo, fleet services, and loading and unloading aircraft.

For months, the Aerial Port has prepared for the ORI. They fought through changes in personnel from deployments and PCSs, and according to Captain Heil, right now, they are just fine tuning the little things to ensure their ready for the inspection.