Wing Inspection Team test unit readiness
By Tech. Sgt. John Hughel and Staff Sgt. Brandon Boyd, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 14, 2014
PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore. -- The Wing Inspection Team conducted a readiness exercise July 31- Aug 3., that challenged the 142nd Fighter Wing members under a variety of conditions that focused on the overall mission capabilities.
This was the first exercise to use the Wing Inspection Team (WIT) members, which is part of the U. S. Air Force inspection system helping to restructure how inspections are now conducted. The goal of the WIT is to offer the wing commander an impartial assessment on the wing's ability to accomplish the mission.
"Instead of focusing on an external event, we've been given the approval to build something that exercises more likely scenarios," said Lt. Col. Frank Page, 142nd Fighter Wing Inspector Planner.
Some of the test scenarios involved elements of the Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Base Fire department, as well as medical and security forces members.
"The Wing Inspection Team members come from the units we are testing and the benefit of this exercise is to build a stronger and more effective unit," said Page.
The overall plan and implementation of these types of exercises now resides at the wing-level Inspector General office with support from the Wing Inspection Team. These subject matter experts were sworn in last year by the wing commander, Col. Rick Wedan. They conduct independent evaluations through inspections and other means of testing the Wing's readiness.
"It's so refreshing to see the new Air Force Inspection System change the way we think about evaluation and exercises," said Wedan. "Putting outdated and irrelevant evaluation scenario in the rear view mirror is a step in the right direction."
In previous Phase I and II inspections, the wing would ramp up months before and spend significant time and resources over several UTA periods preparing for that inspection. By managing the process at the wing level, manpower and budgetary savings were important considerations to the new inspection process.
"We were spending extraordinary resources preparing for inspections to make ourselves "Inspection-Ready." The Air Force realized this, and decided it was time to shift the focus to being Mission-Ready every day", said Wedan.
The change in the inspection procedure challenged many members of the wing to get past the old "Base X" mindset. Going forward Wedan noted, "We'll need to take a close look at the way we disseminate critical, timely mission-oriented information in this new environment."
Some areas of the base saw more action than others during the four days of the inspection.
Overall, Wedan said that he saw, "the team with their game faces on, doing their level best to make the weekend a success."