A day in the secret life of the IG

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher A. Marasky
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
As a sharp noise cuts through the fog of sleep, he turns over and hits the button to turn off the alarm clock. The clock reads 3 a.m. and despite his weariness Maj. Jason Settle pulls himself out of bed to prepare for the day ahead, starting with his morning prayer.

As he eats a bowl of cereal, he makes a mental list of tasks he needs to accomplish for the day. Being chief of wing exercises for the 18th Wing means a lot of early mornings during local operational readiness exercises.

As he looks down at his watch, he sees it's a little after 4 a.m. now, and time to head off to work.

The major arrives at the scene of his first inject of the day, he makes sure that he arrives early when the event happens, but not so early as to warn anyone of the impending scenario.

At 5 a.m. the sirens go off, simulating an air attack against Kadena. Major Settle watches as people take cover inside their buildings and shelters, nodding to himself as he walks about ensuring everyone is doing the proper thing.

It's 5:45 a.m. and the alarms have passed, but as smoke pours from the 18th Communications Squadron building, the Major watches people evacuate in an orderly fashion. As they begin to regroup, he approaches the individuals in charge, testing them on their procedures.

Another 45 minutes pass and the scenario has ended. The major checks his watch again; and heads over to the Shilling for his morning meeting.

At 7:10 the meeting is under way and exercise evaluation team members from every agency on base work with the 18th Wing Inspector General's office and coordinate the events of the day. The bustling hive of activity is thriving, and even though it's time consuming, his fellow Airmen here are professionals at what they do.

He quickly goes over some of his notes from the morning's inject with fellow EET members before he leaves. The major across from him nods a bit at the notes, "Started early today?"

With a nod himself, Major Settle smiles, "I show up as early as I need to. It's just part of the job."

As the meeting adjourns Major Settle heads over to his area, the "White Cell" where he will spend some time reviewing e-mails and phone calls from the wing leadership looking for guidance as he plays the part of higher headquarters.

Looking again to his watch, the major notices the black band holding his watch tightly to his wrist, the time is 10 a.m. and he grabs his gear to head out the door to the next scenario location.

After arriving on scene and meeting up with a group of EET members, a deep squawking sound comes across his radio with news of a change to the plan, the attack has been postponed.

Once back at the Shilling, Major Settle checks his e-mail, and takes a moment to grab some left-overs from the night before to eat, seeing it is just past 1 p.m.

Word comes down a bit later that there is another attack planned, and this one is guaranteed to go off as scheduled. The major gets back into his vehicle, once again heading out to the scene.

The sirens go off in a loud wavering tone. People quickly don their gas masks. The major looks around, ensuring everyone has done what they needed to correctly.

With a bit of a smile and a nod to his fellow inspectors, he can't help but comment. "They are really getting into this now." With that, the inspectors don their own protective equipment, making sure they set the example.

As he begins to move about the scene, role players pretend to be wounded, while other Airmen perform self aid and buddy care. Fire trucks and rescue personnel arrive on scene with sirens and lights flashing while teams are securing routes to their "bug out" location. To the average person the scene would be chaos.

Stopping for a moment, he leans down and quickly corrects a young Airman who's made a simple mistake, telling him the correct way for it to be done, and then directing him to the correct page in his Airman's Manual to read once this scenario has ended.

Over a hour later, as he pulls the mask over his head and breathes fresh air again and checks his watch.

Upon his arrival at the Shilling he finds a number of e-mail and phone messages he will have to respond to.

He looks to his watch again, the digital display reading 6:45 p.m. and the second meeting of the day is about to start. He meets up with the night shift lead, talks over the day's events and passes along important information before the meeting.

Another hour passes and the EET meeting draws to a close.

At the end of his long shift, an e-mail sits there in dark black, waiting to be read. This one's from the wing Public Affairs office, asking questions about the major's job. One question in particular jumps off the page.

"Why do you do it?" With a smile the major replies to the question, "To make sure we're prepared for whatever may be asked of us."

Having finished his final tasks on the computer and tied up all the days' loose-ends, he checks his watch one last time. Just after 8 p.m. and it's time to go back home.

As the long day slowly fades in his rear-view mirror, the major yawns a bit and thinks tomorrow's going to be another long day.