I would go to war with you any day of the week

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- ORI stories: As told by Maj. Kevin Marzette, 50th Aerial Port Squadron

Having served time in the U.S. Army, the most profound compliment that can be rendered to a fellow soldier is, 'I would go to war with you any day of the week.' Well, my experience during the recent Operational Readiness Exercise, Sept. 16 to 23, echoed that very sentiment with respect to the men and women of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing. We packed up our war gear, deployed to Gulfport, Miss., and returned to March Field with a higher level of wartime proficiency and respect for each other.

Representing the 50th Aerial Port Squadron, I am here at March, temporarily assisting the wing with preparing for the upcoming Operational Readiness and Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspections. As an Aerial-porter, I oversee airport operations by ensuring our people and cargo are transported to their destinations on time. For the ORE, we had to deploy more than 400 Airmen to the Area of Operation.

With boots on the ground and plans in hand, our advanced teams flipped on the light switch to get operations up and running. Within prescribed time limits, we were able to establish security and set up the base services, Medical and personnel facilities were up and ready for customer service responsibilities. The building facility managers, Post Attack Reconnaissance teams and entry control guards were in place prior to the arrival of the leadership module. Once the leadership arrived, we were ready to turn the base over to the deployed commander allowing him to proceed with our wartime mission.

This was a great learning experience because it was the first opportunity to get all of the troops together, from the wing commander to the enlisted aerial porters unloading bags. The exercise provided everyone with a bird's-eye view of the entire deployment and logistics process. Ideally, the lessons learned during the exercise will be an added knowledge-asset to our training portfolio during the actual inspection, if not for real-world deployments.

By no means did this exercise go perfect. There were some areas of operations that required overhauls and some that needed just a bit of tweaking. For example, attending to individual deployment requirements proved to be the most challenging. When possible, we should implement a system for ensuring our warriors have completed their requirements in a manner that runs parallel to their civilian life commitments. I would recommend that we have weekly meetings from now until a week prior to the ORI on this subject matter, to ensure everyone is current on their requirements, which should rectify the problem.

My point of view on the upcoming ORI is that we are going to put 100 percent of our hearts and souls into our efforts. I have no doubt in my mind that we are capable of getting a rating of outstanding.

To my fellow March members, 'I would go to war with you any day of the week!'