ORI in Focus: Materiel support is vital element in wartime readiness

  • Published
  • By Holly Birchfield
  • 78 ABW/PA
(Editor's note: This is the fifth installment in a weekly series outlining Robins's efforts in preparing for April's Oper-ational Readiness Inspection.)

Materiel support is one of many important components in wartime readiness.

Officials in the 542nd Combat Sustainment Wing said military and civilian Airmen alike in the organization have been fine-tuning their wartime materiel support skills in the past several months and they're confident Robins is ready to stand the test in the upcoming operational readiness inspection.

Col. Lawrence Kingsley, vice director of the 542nd CSW, said a lot goes into wartime materiel support.

"It's an effort for the inspector general to be able to test the (Warner Robins Air Logistics Center's) ability to support a wartime contingency. In a wartime contingency, you would have an extraordinary demand on the supply system to supply parts or items, or make modifications or changes to items in the theater that the combatant commander would be using," he said. "These requests would come through the wholesale system and it would be our job then to fulfill that requirement."

Requirements could be for anything from aircraft to commodities, such as guns, support equipment, testers, or an electronic warfare pod that goes on multiple aircraft, Colonel Kingsley said.

Patty Martin, 762nd Combat Sustainment Group director, said the 542nd CSW and its squadrons have been working hard to ensure they shine in April.

"We've been participating in readiness inspection exercises like everybody else and specifically, we have been trying to exercise our surge processes," she said. "Surge is the process where we receive a requisition that has been identified from a warfighting customer as an urgent need. We have a way of identifying what those urgent needs are and track them in a database and we flow them out to the item manager team that has responsibility for managing that particular item."

Ms. Martin said whether items are easy or hard to come by, it's the responsibility of item managers, program managers, engineers and equipment specialists on the integrated product team assigned to that item to ensure its quickest delivery to the warfighter.

About 50 such teams exist within the wing.

Ms. Martin said Robins has come a long way.

"I think they're doing excellent," she said. "Obviously, we have improved. Even though we've been surging for approximately the last 10 years, there are still a lot of issues, fine tuning that continuously needs to be done. That's really what we've been working on, making sure that we tweak the process so that it's absolutely the best that it can be. I think that we're doing a great job."

Colonel Kingsley said people at Robins know their jobs well.

"I think across the ALC, when folks are in their lane doing what their specialties are, they do an extraordinarily good job," he said.

Colonel Kingsley said the operational readiness exercises have driven the wing to take more of a team approach to solving problems.

Ms. Martin said she's proud of the progress Robins has made.

"I think we've really come a long way in terms of the command and control aspect of war readiness and what we're able to demonstrate to the IG in terms of being ready," she said.

But, Ms. Martin said people need to maintain a good attitude and stay on track.

"Stay the course," she said. "It is the details that really separate a satisfactory performer from an excellent performer or an outstanding performer, and we're looking for an outstanding here."

Ms. Martin challenged people to be detail oriented and refresh themselves on policies and ensure compliance with those policies.

Colonel Kingsley said people need to help others in their primary areas of responsibility as well as take care of their own areas. With the ORI less than two months away, people need to be ready.

"People need to get their game face on," he said. "This is an inspection, not just a test. This is an opportunity to prove how good we are."