Air Commandos: Your ORI is complete!

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Lengyel
  • Commander, 1st Special Operations Wing
Just after midnight on Feb. 4, the 1st SOW completed an exceptional display of agility, flexibility, mission focus and operational readiness as we redeployed the last our forces from Operation Unified Response providing humanitarian relief in Haiti.

Thank you for the tremendous effort.

Less than seven hours after notification, the 1st SOW along with other air commandos from sister units at Hurlburt Field, launched an ad hoc deployment package tasked to reopen the airfield in Port au Prince.

The force included a joint operations center command and control staff, airfield security, Special Operations Forces medical personnel, combat controllers, finance and contracting personnel, loggies and civil engineers.

The deployed force worked under extremely demanding conditions:  high temperatures, no showers, no laundry, meals ready-to-eat and water, extreme noise, limited sleep, confused command and control structure, international pressures and high media attention.

The rest of the 1st SOW energized to sustain the deployed operation.

C-130 crews often flew back to back maximum crew days with minimum rest. Maintenance constantly generated aircraft. Logistics readiness built pallets, moved cargo and loaded aircraft.  Battlestaff executed command and control.

It was a wing-wide effort with more than 85 C-130 cargo missions originating out of Hurlburt Field. Countless lives were saved because you made order from chaos at Port au Prince airport.

We have been engaged worldwide in overseas contingency operations for more than eight years without a break. Your performance in combat has been flawless. In the last two months we generated, flew, supported and command and controlled hundreds of combat missions. These were planned "counters" toward the employment phase of the operational readiness inspection because of our limited aircraft remaining here to be evaluated.

For the past year we have been preparing for our ORI with five operational readiness exercises while simultaneously winning installation excellence and preparing for and receiving an "Excellent" health services inspection and an "Excellent" command cyber readiness inspection.

Unfortunately, our ORI execution was rudely interrupted by the earthquake in Haiti. Knowing this might be tough to makeup, we invited the Air Force Special Operations Command Inspector General to grade your Haiti relief mission.

Because of our thorough ORE preparation, our exceptional performance in combat worldwide and our incredible performance supporting Haiti relief, the AFSOC commander declared Friday that this wing does not need to prove its operational readiness any further to AFSOC leadership.

I could argue that the 1st SOW is the most agile, responsive, mission focused and relevant wing in the USAF!  Our ORI is complete and we've earned the grade "EXCELLENT".

CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU again for your remarkable effort and performance.