A First for Homeland Defense

Air Force officials in May conducted the first-ever operational readiness inspection designed to validate the ability of USAF units to support civil authorities in protecting the American homeland from attack. This homeland defense ORI took place May 16-23 in Gulfport Miss. It involved nearly 500 airmen from three tactical airlift units representing each service component: the active duty 317th Airlift Group from Dyess AFB, Tex., the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing, and Air Force Reserve Command’s 70th Aerial Port Squadron from Homestead ARB, Fla. “This inspection marked the first time that any Air Force unit has been wartime-validated in support of the security and defense of the United States of America,” said Col. Greg Nelson, 123rd AW boss. He added, “I’m pleased to say that all three units passed this new test with flying colors.” (Gulfport report by Maj. Dale Greer)