At any moment the airmen at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter could be called off to war. The Inspector General, or IG, wants to be sure these men and women of the 20th Fighter Wing are ready when called, so he’s coming in June as part of an ORI, Operations Readiness Inspection that happens every five years. As Lieutenant Colonel Marc Dauteuil puts it, it’s almost like filming a movie on a Hollywood set that puts these airmen in mock war situations.
“We carve out a certain portion of it and we pretend that that portion, we call it Base X, it becomes a deployed environment, in other words, we have taken a bunch of airplanes, a bunch of people, weapons, whatever we need, so we turn that section of the base here in to that combat environment and we fight a war,” says Dauteuil.
The Inspector General says he will be looking for, “A safe flying operation. We recognize the fact that we are not actually at war when we’re, I’ll call it playing the game, I guess you could also say proving the point, uh, reacting to attacks, that we’re still doing our job by the book to insure that not only to get them launched safely to take care of the people that are flying in them, but obviously if you don’t do it right and something doesn’t work, then you send a guy in harm’s way,” says Dauteuil.
Dauteuil says it may seem like they’re filming a movie, but in reality- it’s getting them ready for deployment.
“It’s a little bit beyond what you saw in ‘Top Gun,’ ya know, just coming in and talking about it, but no kidding, they’re reviewing the tapes we’re recording on what’s going on in the air crafts and obviously they’re live out there on the ramp evaluating our operations,” saya Dauteuil.
The exercises will last for 48 hours straight and will test the “fighters” with air crashes, explosions, ground attacks and other war dilemmas. Dauteuil says they write out a full script that displays the mock situation for the full 48-hour time span. The Inspector General will arrive on the week of June 14 at the Shaw Air Force Base.