On a muggy midsummer day in Alpena, approximately 100 servicemembers filed into a large, hangar-like building donned in camouflaged protective gear from head-to-toe. Taking seats in metal folding chairs, cool air filtered through the open overhead door, the only relief from the congested heat.
“It’s very hard to do your job when you’re wearing your [chemical] gear,” said Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander 127th Wing, “The point is to familiarize ourselves with the processes and procedures so we can seamlessly integrate into a deployed environment.”
More than 500 Citizen-Airmen of the 127th Wing mobilized during several different simulated deployments last week, culminating with the largest group on Sunday. Formerly referred to as “phase one and phase two”, the operational readiness assessment (ORA) taking place at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC), creates opportunities for troops to practice wartime taskings and reinforces readiness to deploy and operate in a wartime scenario.