YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — With hundreds deployed to the Middle East and tsunami-stricken regions of South Asia, the 374th Airlift Wing resumed its practice routine this week, wrapping up the year’s first Operational Readiness Exercise on Wednesday.

That regimen intensifies over the next several months as Yokota prepares for the Operational Readiness Inspection by Pacific Air Forces officials in February 2006. The next ORE unfolds March 13-18, with other sessions to follow in July, September and November.

“This particular ORE was to test the wing’s ability to deploy airmen rapidly and in the correct manner,” said 1st Lt. Warren Comer, a 374th Airlift Wing spokesman. “Most of our OREs also test our ability to survive and operate but this one was shortened and more attention was paid to our ability to generate airlift.”

He said the wing performed numerous functions during the exercise, delivering 152 troops and 109 tons of cargo under various scenarios drawn up by the wing’s Inspector General office. At the same time, Yokota received 466 personnel and 226 tons of supplies.

The base also rehearsed the first deployment of its surgical teams, or Expeditionary Medical Support units, Comer added. The Pacific’s largest airlift hub moved 27 pallets of medical cargo and three pieces of rolling stock, which can be wheeled in and out of aircraft.

The ORE, which had been scheduled to start Monday, instead began a day earlier, with Yokota airmen being called in to work.

“The recall over the weekend was to test the wing’s ability to report for duty during a time that’s not normally expected,” Comer said. “Yokota’s airmen have to play as a team during the exercise, where every aspect of our particular jobs are tested by the wing’s Inspector General office.”

Throughout the week, he said, that inspection team laid out some specific tasks, examining the wing’s ability to load aircraft in a timely manner and gauging its response to simulated vehicle accidents that required emergency treatment. A “protest” was staged outside the main gate Tuesday, followed by a mock news conference aimed at measuring the reaction of senior military officials.

Personnel also practiced emergency first aid in the workplace, with airmen “injured” by accidental falls and others simulating cuts from equipment.

Normally, the base’s inspector general team issues an overall grade to the wing about two weeks after an exercise is completed. It’s based on a standard five-tier evaluation system used by the Air Force, with marks for outstanding, excellent, satisfactory, marginal and unsatisfactory performances.

Each unit also has an exercise evaluation team member who provides input used in a final report.

“We won’t know the actual outcome of the exercise until that comes out,” Comer said.

Col. Doug Kreulen, the 374th Airlift Wing commander, praised the wing’s ORE performance but said there are areas to address between now and the inspection in 2006.

“This is my third ORE at Yokota and we are significantly more prepared now to deploy combat-ready personnel and cargo than in the past,” he said. “However, we do have lots of areas that we will need to improve to earn an ‘Outstanding’ from the PACAF IG.”

But, he said, “we are blessed to have dedicated officers and noncommissioned officers that want to lead and want to excel. Through their dedication, we’ll earn an outstanding.”

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