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Dust Yourself Off

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- It may seem the phrase "Dust Yourself Off" regarding Operational Readiness Exercise and Inspection preparation is about a month late. However, a good portion of the warriors who will demonstrate our outstanding Gunfighter mission performance to the Air Combat Command Inspector General next year are returning from deployment since our September ORE. Additionally, for those of us who experienced the crawl phase of the first ORE, we now have a clearer picture of where the most work lays in the path ahead.

In this time of moving cautiously from the crawl phase to the walk phase, we continue to refine our individual and team skills and will do so through the conclusion of the ORI. Everything from Ability To Survive and Operate rodeos and part task training to flight level exercises and buddy checks keeps us sharp on our personal responsibilities and actions. Likewise, taking good notes and being actively involved in after-action reviews enables us to perfect our team functions such as command and control, force protection, sortie generation and post-attack recovery operations. It is a long and demanding journey from dusting off individually to the synergy of team success next spring, and keeping a positive attitude is vitally important.

We have established a positive "You Can't Stop Us" attitude as the theme for this commentary series that will be reinforced in every article. More crucial than any uniform or protective item, the first thing we must put on every day is our game face. Throughout the day, we show evaluators our positive, cooperative and responsive attitudes in the sense of urgency we display in performing our jobs and taking care of our wingmen in degraded-contested environments. Another important aspect of attitude is an emphasis on safety, which means striking the right balance between a sense of urgency and being in a rush. It takes experience for each individual to learn where to draw the line in different scenarios for themselves and for their wingmen.

Gunfighters execute the mission exceptionally well year round. Our challenge in the ORE walk phase is to integrate unconventional tasks and the ability to survive and operate into our performance to the point it is second nature at game time. Evaluators will intensify the challenge by injecting stressful scenarios into conditions that are already mentally and physically demanding. They will come to learn, though, that no matter what we are faced with, You Can't Stop Us!

Dust yourself off, keep a positive attitude and together we will far exceed the challenge!