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ready for an ORI, we needed to teach the 27 SOW to be Air Commandos and instill the ethos and subculture of our SOF community. Our challenge was that over 80 percent of our people were on their first tour in SOF. Organizationally we had to under-


stand the intricacies of the units of the 27 SOW. The complex capabilities they are tasked with, the UTCs they were manned against, and the training and equipment they use to execute their missions. These were far more diverse than initially understood. For example, the 27th Special Operations and Special Operations Maintenance Groups house a collection of old and new aircraft with both well known and newly emerging capabilities that do not necessarily fit together in a traditional airfield seizure scenario. The 27th Special Operations Mission Support Group, while encom- passing a “normal” collection of Base Operations Support (BOS) units, is not manned or equipped to be the self- sustaining force needed in order for the 27 SOW to deploy and fight as a wing. Nor are they tasked as SOF enablers. Rather they are organized, trained, and equipped for conventional AEF taskings. Additionally, the AFSOC command and control capability,


Ribbon cutting at the 551 SOS, with Lt Col Dwight Davis, and Colonel James Cardoso Below: Secretary of the Air


Force, the Honorable Michael B. Don- ley, walks with Col. Stephen Clark, 27 SOW/CC, during a visit to Cannon


normally incorporated in a 9AA UTC, was not only not completely tasked to the 27 SOW, but the few pieces of the 9AA that were tasked, were not yet manned or equipped appropriately. The original plan was a traditional,


two week, off-site evaluation where the entire wing would deploy to another state-side base and execute its mission. However, after several OREs, it became evident that “traditional” did not apply to the 27 SOW. We were creating too many false processes and simply mak- ing stuff up in order to function as a lead wing. This was sucking the already limited resources away from our other responsibilities and threatened to “break the force”. Working with the AFSOC IG we developed a hybrid evaluation comprised of a near simultaneous AEF / SOF deployment for the Position the Force (PTF) phase one and a modular, Employ the Force (ETF), Sustain the Force (STF) and Ability to Survive and Operation (ATSO) phase two that took place at a newly constructed exercise facility at Cannon AFB, a Silver Flag national training site in North Carolina and in theater performing real world operations while AFSOC inspectors looked on. The modular ORI phase two


concept is not new but has been gain- ing popularity throughout the Air Force as more and more wings grow away from being a “Lead Wing;” wings that deploy as single units and completely self-sustain themselves organically. A modular evaluation is basically a series of mini ORIs executed near simultane- ously. It allows diverse units within a single wing to be evaluated using indi- vidual, realistic scenarios tailored to each unit or capability.


Commanders note: The ORI was a crowning achieve-


ment for the fledgling 27 SOW and proved to all our young Air Commandos that attitude can overcome a lot of other challenges. By being assertive, taking risks and flat out just making things happen, the Airmen of the 27 SOW have firmly established them- selves as key members of the Air Force and USSOCOM community. That they accomplished this all while fully engaged in combat is nothing short of heroic. Their audacity and selflessness, their ability to persevere under extreme pressure, and the exceptional support from their families, makes the Airmen of the 27 Special Operations Wing true Air Commandos.


24 │ AIR COMMANDO JOURNAL │ Fall 2011


www.aircommando.org


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