Back in the swing of things

  • Published
  • By Capt. Greta Jackson
  • 174 Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Hancock Field Air National Guard Base donned chemical gear and conducted an Operational Readiness Exercise (ORE) for the first time in three years on March 31, 2012. 

An Operational Readiness Inspection is conducted to assess a unit's ability to deploy at a given time, and an ORE is the first step towards that evaluation. Although every Airman on Hancock Field has remained deployable, the unit as a whole has not performed this level of exercise since converting from the F-16 Fighter Falcon aircraft to MQ-9 Reaper in 2009. It is customary for a unit to be given time after a conversion to become proficient before being evaluated.

The focus of this particular exercise was to evaluate command and control activities, demonstrate mission oriented protective postures and test personnel accountability procedures. "Although we hadn't done this is awhile, we did fairly well. I'm satisfied that Hancock Field meets the compliance requirement," said Lt. Col. Kate Hutson, 174th Fighter Wing Deputy Mission Support Commander and officer in charge of the ORE.  "We constantly have people deployed overseas and this is actually part of the training they need before they leave," said Hutson.

The 174th officially stood up the MQ-9 mission in December of 2009, but sustained a dual-mission status for approximately six months as it flew both F-16 and MQ-9 missions until the last of the F-16s were flown off Hancock Field in March of 2010.