We're Always Deployed - So Why OREs?

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Donald J. Bacon
  • 55th Wing commander
One of the most frequent questions I hear regarding the upcoming operational readiness exercise is: "Since we're deployed so often, why do we need OREs?"

The standard we have set in the 55th Wing in executing deployed air power is phenomenal! It is true that we are accustomed to being a wing with the highest operations tempo in the Air Force. We are proficient at deploying, often on short notice, to almost every global hotspot.

In 2010 alone, we had 31 short-notice aircraft deployments. In August 2010, the wing surpassed 20 consecutive years of deployment to U.S. Central Command.

So why OREs?

We need OREs because they help us sustain all facets of our required combat skill set. What we are doing downrange is one huge part of our required mission set but so is the ability to fight in a chemical warfare environment and other conditions.

Put another way: we have to practice using each of our muscles regularly. Many of you like to lift weights. You realize that only lifting your biceps and never exercising your triceps is not effective.

Having OREs allows us to make sure we are continually stretching and maintaining the strength of our combat muscles instead of trying to play catch up at the last minute when told of an ORI, or placed in an actual chemical warfare engagement, or mobilizing a major percentage of our base.

Part of being an Airman is being able to quickly mobilize, providing life-saving first aid to a Wingman, operating in a chemical warfare environment, defending the base and much, much more. OREs and ORIs ensure we are ready to execute all of our responsibilities. Realize that your Air Force leadership is aware and proud of all the sacrifices you are making. The short-term inconvenience of an ORE is designed with one purpose in mind--keeping us prepared and fit to fight.