51 MDG verifies readiness
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 51st Medical Group here undertook the task of evaluating their combat readiness with a maintenance verification process March 6 - May 8, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.
The process involved measuring the group's peacetime and combat readiness in contrast to the Operations Plan of the 7th Air Force and United States Forces Korea. The 51st MDG is the third group on base to voluntarily evaluate and test these capabilities.
Conducting the verification involved numerous after-duty hours of research. In addition to the inspection of OPLANs, members throughout the group studied and briefed each other on documents that specified the contingency capabilities of the group. The verification contained three phases: the academic phase, developmental phase, and verification brief.
"One-hundred percent of the research done for this verification was after-hours," said Lt. Col. Mark Cleveland, 51st Medical Support Squadron commander. "Because of our daily mission and customer service our Airmen took the additional time to become more knowledgeable."
While the finale brief was given May 7, the MDG will be tested on what they learned in the upcoming operational readiness exercise Beverly Midnight 15-02.
"The verification brief was an educational exercise about whether we knew our role," said Cleveland. "The educational piece that these folks get is the most beneficial. The upcoming exercise is going to be our capstone event, where we actually apply what we found out to the various scenarios of an ORE."
While the process is focused on readiness and knowledge, Cleveland said there was an additional goal the MDG had.
"We tried, through this verification, to get people out of crisis management mode, and into deliberate planning," said Cleveland. "When emergencies happen, we don't want to be second guessing ourselves. If we fully understand our entire process, its pieces and parts, then if something happens to it, we're able to adjust better. It helps with smoothing processes."
Approximately seven weeks, the process took a look at the MDG's peace time and wartime capabilities, which can be drastically different. For example, dental and mental health technicians, who have a traditionally specified duty, may be required to perform a wide variety of tasks during a contingency, from perimeter defense to controlling checkpoints.
This is the second process the MDG has gone through, each tailored to better hone their Airmen to react with alacrity and swift and sound decision making processes during emergencies.
"I think the individuals who have gone through the first and second round are able to be better critical thinkers and solve problems a lot faster," said Cleveland. "The other thing we've done is learn how we tie into certain missions, and where our limiting factors are. We've made some partnerships with the MXG, we've worked a lot with FSS, LRS. This has really got us out of just sitting in this building and working with our counterparts across the base to solve issues."
And while the team will benefit from this process, Cleveland said the individual benefits are unmistakable.
"The main thing we keep focused on is that this is an educational exercise for individuals," said Cleveland. "We're trying to make our Airmen into better critical thinkers and deliberate planners. Everything else is great too, but helping our people be critical thinkers is key."
The 51st MDG includes four squadrons: the Aerospace Medicine Squadron, Medical Support Squadron, Medical Operations Squadron, and the Dental Squadron. Additionally, there are dozens of separate clinics in the MDG, which account for numerous ways to service Team Osan. Each was specifically evaluated during the verification process. Above all, the inspection was designed to measure their readiness against the standard, proactively identify any shortcomings and buttress their capabilities to provide unrivaled support to the Air Force's most forward deployed, permanently-based fighter wing.
Previously the Mission Support and Maintenance Groups have performed verification processes on base.