Military News

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Colorado ANG participates in Wing Wartime Readiness Inspection

by Tech. Sgt. Nicole Manzanares
140th Wing Public Affairs

10/19/2015 - BUCKLEY AFB, Colo. -- Airmen from the 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard, participated in a four-day large scale combat readiness assessment, the Wing Wartime Readiness Inspection at Buckley Air Force Base, Oct. 15 -18.

The WWRI is one of the ways the 140th Wing is implementing the new Air Force Inspection System which is intended to assess each unit exclusively on their ability to perform their specific deployed mission.

"The WWRI differs greatly from any inspection we've had in the past," said Maj. Susan Ruby, 140th Wing Inspector General, "it brings value-added training for each unit." 

Under AFIS, the wing is able to focus on mission readiness and improving mission effectiveness with a series of internally planned inspections and evaluations throughout the year, rather than gearing up for one big Operational Readiness Inspection every few years, as was done in the past.

The new inspection system relies heavily on the Commander's Inspection Program, which is designed to give the wing commander responsibility for the unit's compliance, readiness and ability to execute its mission. The wing commander oversees the wing's Inspector General team, which helps coordinate exercises and inspections to continually assess the wing in four areas: managing resources, leading people, improving the unit and executing the mission.

During the WWRI, the wing's IG team worked with designated inspection team members to create training scenarios and exercises that were specifically tailored to each individual unit's mission.

"We have trained Wing Inspection Team members throughout each organization in the wing," said Ruby. "They designed the exercise scenario for their own team that would stress critical areas so that they could find weaknesses or areas of non-compliance within their organization."

Since each unit was responsible for planning and executing their own plans for the inspection, there were numerous events and exercise scenarios running simultaneously throughout the course of the extended drill weekend.

The 140th Operations Group and 140th Maintenance Group worked together to challenge the wartime flying mission, launching over 50 sorties during a two-day period.

Members of the 140th Civil Engineer Squadron  trained on Status of Resources and Training System reports, shooting the M-4 carbine assault rifle, gearing up to perform chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear readiness training, and working on self-aid and buddy care, while also constructing facilities on a simulated bare base.

"In the Air Force we are one piece on the chess board," said Lt. Col. Jeremy Milliman, commander, 140th Civil Engineering Squadron.  "Our job as an Air National Guard CE unit is to be prepared to deploy; we are exercising our wartime tasks."

This exercise was designed to be realistic, Milliman explained. "It puts our Airmen in the scenario and teaches them to overcome and adapt to a situation, rather than practicing multiple times to perfection and then getting inspected," he said.

Meanwhile, on the other side of base, the 140th Security Forces Squadron filled their days with expeditionary skills training scenarios, flight line intruder exercises, and using the weapons training simulator, in which students were put through lethal and non-lethal force situations.

"What we are assessing our patrolmen on are the basic foundational skills and correct positioning when challenging an individual during use of force simulations," said Master Sgt. Patrick Nay, SFS unit training manager. "This benefits our SF members to be comfortable in using force and to eliminate hesitation time."

Everyone from the inspectors to the lowest Airmen play a part in the inspection. Under the new system, Airmen are encouraged to report to their leadership any time they see something that is not right or in accordance with regulations.

Senior Airman Kathryn Nay, a SFS patrolman, embraced the concept during the SF training. "These are people we trust with our lives and they trust us with their lives. It is important for us to communicate everything we see and be honest with ourselves as a unit so that we can truly improve."

Even members of the 233d Space Group, Greeley Air National Guard Station, joined in and accomplished required training on loading and unloading tractor trailers onto a C-17 Globemaster III from the 183rd Airlift Squadron, Mississippi Air National Guard.

"You need a licensed driver, two load crew members and five Airmen on each side of the truck to back a trailer onto an aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. Michelle Scherger, a 233rd logistician. With little room for error, the task tested the entire crew and helped fine tune their process for the future.

All these exercises were only a small portion of the training that units exercised over the long weekend, all with the intent to stress their capabilities, find weaknesses, and fix them.

"After the WWRI is done, it's time to work on the improvement part," said Ruby. "There are three critical things; root cause analysis, corrective action plan and the estimated completion date."

At the conclusion of the WWRI, each unit is tasked to find the root cause of any noted deficiencies, create an action plan to improve, and correct the scenario.

Ruby summed it up after a long and very busy drill weekend. "The goal under the new Air Force Inspection System is to 'inspect to improve', and I think we successfully accomplished that through the WWRI."

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