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MacDill standard of excellence remains sky-high

  • Published
  • By CMSgt Mark Long and MSgt Rich Moore
  • 6th Mission Support Squadron
Let me sum up the ORI by taking a line from my favorite sports personality and announcer Dick Vitale, "Our Airmen were simply awesome baby!" Folks, believe it when I say our Airmen were well trained and equipped and truly inspired to conquer the mission and the results showed! 

For the record, at the time of this article I have no idea what our overall ORI grade is but I can tell you from the view of our deployed Commander, Col Smith, deployed "Shirt" Rich Moore and myself, and many other ORI leaders, we won the fight because our Airmen displayed an extraordinary positive attitude, trained to the task and fully expected victory. We executed our game plan with strong leadership at all levels and simply killed every target right up to the finish when we hit boots on the ground back at MacDill. 

Earlier in the year, Mr. Dave Cresswell from Wing/XP described our ORE game plan as crawl, walk and run. We started with local training and then took a band of 100 Airmen to the Battle Lab led by Col Smith in early summer to measure and train to the task at hand. I must admit the task seemed daunting to say the least as the lead Jackson ANG team seemed as if they had been doing this their entire life. Make no mistake about it; they paved the way to success. We didn't quite have the skill set at the time but we were fired up and had the motivation and will to succeed. 

I'll always remember 100 Airmen in formation enthusiastically giving our MacDill war chant that went like this, "Where are you from? MacDill, Where are you from? MacDill, What do we bring? Air power!" The game was on and we spent the week training and getting ready for the upcoming ORE and there was never a doubt Team MacDill was in the house and on the yard! We laid the four corners of a massive puzzle. 

We continued to train hard at home station and then ventured into the walk phase called the ORE. But there was no walking as the mission quickly became a strong run! 288 fired up Airmen headed North in the heat of the summer to apply the things we learned. The sense of urgency was incredible and the mission focus spot on. The battles were hard and it seemed like the EET dropped every possible scenario on us to test our will. We were not perfect but as American Airmen we give it our all, learning from our mistakes and never quit. We started filling in the big ORE puzzle and came back ready to train even harder for the ORI. 

Before we knew it was time to run, it was ORI "Go Time!" Our deployed CC Col Smith fired us up at the concept briefing with his trademark, no nonsense, bring your "A Game" pre-victory speech. It was awesome baby! Col Billy Francis, the MSG CC then fired up each departing chalk with a Patton like speech that got us all ready to destroy targets. Mel Gibson in Brave heart has nothing on him! 

We hit boots down in Gulfport and from the beginning until the end we worked together with a sense of purpose and simply gave our heart and soul to complete the puzzle called an ORI. Not one Airmen complained as we MOPPed up for almost 3 hours at one point. Not one Airmen displayed negativity about the field conditions, MRE's, night shifts, the rain, moldy rooms and the list goes on. We were there to do our job and complete the mission and to continue the legacy of the sky high MacDill standard of excellence. The redeployment phase hit and we sprinted to the finish line like the champions we are. 

We landed back at MacDill to big crowds and a very supportive wing leadership. It was an incredible feeling finishing the drill! I'll sum up this article by quoting a line from a Carly Simon song, "No one does it better, baby we're the best". Americans count on us and so does the world! Go Team MacDill! No matter what the rating, there is no doubt we totally integrated with our Jackson counterparts and together won the fight, and in leaderships eyes we are OUTSTANDING!

*Side note - As we battled at the ORI, none of us lost site of the big picture or forgot about our warriors abroad taking live fire and sacrificing so much in the battle against terrorism. May our ORE training make us better fighting Airmen when it's our turn to answer the call! Go Air Power!