Wing Inspection Team Evaluates Deployment Readiness Processes
By Senior Airman Ashleigh S. Pavelek, , 169th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs
/ Published January 29, 2016
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Equipped with red Swamp Fox hats and badges, the Wing Inspection Team, WIT, assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing, participated in the Red Flag Deployment Inspection here, Jan. 19-22.
Inspectors from the Air Combat Command Inspector General, ACC-IG, were also on-hand as part of the 169th FW Unit Effectiveness Inspection, UEI, Midpoint evaluation.
The current 169th FW WIT is comprised of 25 Swamp Fox evaluators. When conducting inspections as part of the Commander's Inspection Program, CCIP, they work for the 169th FW IG. The four major graded areas during an evaluation include; managing resources, leading people, improving the unit and executing the mission.
"Although this is a relatively new program, we have always made efforts to improve the Swamp Fox [team] in each of these areas and are dedicated to continue those efforts," said U.S. Air Force Col. David Meyer, the 169th Fighter Wing commander. "We spend a lot of time and effort trying to manage our scarce resources throughout the wing."
Empowering the 169th FW to conduct its own inspections, enables the 169th FW WIT to provide the commander with a more accurate and complete picture of the health of the wing. Localizing the inspection process allows the base commander to position resources where they are needed the most, therefore maximizing its efforts to maintain mission readiness.
"The Commander's Inspection Program allows us to be involved with continuous improvement and evaluation, versus having outside inspectors come in periodically for a short period of time," said Lt. Col. Andrew Thorne, Inspector General for the 169th FW.
During the Red Flag Deployment Inspection, the Swamp Fox WIT evaluated operations performed by the 169th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 169th Maintenance Group to ensure the units' procedures were in compliance governing directives when processing cargo for air shipment and generating aircraft for a deployment launch.
"We deploy as much as active duty, or more, so we are always ready," said Master Sgt. John Wohlwend, an air cargo transportation specialist assigned to the 169th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
The 169th Maintenance Group was evaluated on their ability to prepare the base's fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcon jets for deployment.
"Graded procedures included general maintenance practices related to maintenance actions, such as, launch procedures, equipment inspection and aircraft generation," said Master Sgt. Josh Thacker, a WIT volunteer assigned to the 169th Maintenance Group.
Members of the Swamp Fox WIT are subject matter experts in their Air Force Specialty Code and work at McEntire full-time. Volunteers are hand-selected by the base commander to serve a two-year cycle, dedicated to conducting inspections as part of the CCIP.
"This was a great opportunity for Air Combat Command to witness the 169th Fighter Wing in action as we prepare for our deployment to Red Flag," said Thorne. "The ACC IG inspectors provided an outside look of our deployment practices, which is another tool we use to provide the commander with complete and accurate information to enhance decision making."
The four-year cycle of the UEI will end in October 2017. The Swamp Fox WIT, along with ACC IG inspectors, will perform a wing Capstone Inspection; the culmination of efforts during the UEI cycle.