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Commander's commentary
Col. Eric S. Overturf is the commander of the 442nd Fighter Wing, an A-10 Thunderbolt II Air Force Reserve unit at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Danielle Wolf)
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Commander’s commentary: Winning the ORI

Posted 7/18/2011   Updated 7/18/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Col. Eric S. Overturf
442nd Fighter Wing commander


7/18/2011 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- I hope you're having a great summer and spending quality time with your friends and families. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to spend the 4th of July with my family in Washington, D.C. Watching fireworks over the U.S. Capitol building was a great way to celebrate our nation's independence. It was inspirational to stand between the Washington and Lincoln Memorials and reflect on the sacrifices our forefathers made so we can enjoy living in a free country. Thank you for carrying on their proud legacy of service in the defense of our nation.

Here at Whiteman, we're about to begin our last readiness exercise before our phase-one inspection in August. This is our last chance to fine tune the procedures we've been striving to perfect. We still have some things to work on, but thanks to your hard work and attention to detail we are a great flight path for success. As an example, in May our deployment bag inspections had about a 40 percent pass rate, but in June it improved to better than 90 percent. I'm certain we'll see even better results in July.

The single most important weapon we will bring to the ORI will be the outstanding attitude that impressed the 10th Air Force inspection team so much during our June exercise. When it was hot, and you were tired, and things were not going as planned (which will inevitably happen at some point when the "fog of war" hits our inspection), you had great attitudes and turned things around. When inspectors told you to change the way you were doing things, you didn't complain. You thanked the inspector and followed the instructions, or forwarded them up the chain if you needed more clarification.

This is what the IG will be looking for in August, and it's what we expect during the exercise this month too. Positive attitudes in the face of adversity show that we, as individuals, take pride in our jobs and that we will work together as a team to overcome any challenge. Thank you for maintaining those great attitudes despite everything you've been through in the last three years - it's because of that dedication that we WILL win the ORI in August.

We already have several personnel including pilots and maintainers from Moody deployed to the combat zone, and this month we'll send off about 35 of our civil engineers from Whiteman. Make sure to wish them well when you see them, and as we always try to do in the 442nd FW, remind them their families will be well cared for by our family of reservists here.

Make sure to flip through your Mohawk in upcoming months too, to see what your friends and fellow Airmen in the 442nd CES are doing on their deployment.
After we win the 'war' in August, we've got some exciting things ahead.

In September, your families will have the opportunity to come to Whiteman AFB, Mo. to celebrate our wing's success. The family day committee is working hard to make sure there are events for everyone to participate in and excellent food to eat. I'm already excited for this year's feast - steak and potatoes!

Finally, toward the end of the year we'll be packing our mobility bags again, but this time, it'll be for real!

Fighter Wing Airmen from here and Barksdale AFB, La., will be gearing up for a deployment. The last three years of ORI preparation will be put to good use when we head overseas to provide close air support for coalition forces on the ground. The Air Expeditionary Force is scheduled to last approximately three months and the package will include reservists mainly from our operations and maintenance groups.
We've got a busy year ahead of us. We had a nice long break between the last unit training assembly and this one, and I hope you took the time to rest and relax - because the ops tempo is about to increase as we enter the final stretch to the ORI. I will be alongside you the entire way. When you do your last-minute bag checks the night before the exercise and inspection, just know - I'm probably at home doing the same thing.
When you have to wake up at 0400 to exercise because you've got a long, busy day of inspection ahead of you, just know - I'm probably hitting the pavement too.

I'm proud to be serving alongside each and every one of you. It's an honor to be your commander.



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