***image1***The U.S. Air Forces in Europe Inspector General team gave the results of two back-to-back inspections in separate out-briefings to members of Team Ramstein Tuesday at the Nightin-gale Theater.
Overall, the combined 86th Airlift Wing/435th Air Base Wing operational readiness inspection and the 435th ABW unit compliance inspection were graded “satisfactory.”
A “satisfactory” means performance or operation meets mission requirements.
The inspections occurred less than a week apart and called for a high operational tempo to get the results, said Col. Jim Reavis, former 435th ABW Inspections and Readiness Office chief.
For Team Ramstein to go through both inspections at one time was astounding, said Colonel Reavis. “There hasn’t been a no-notice ORI this close to an inspection since the days of the Strategic Air Command (1990s). Our folks just proved they’re the best at what they do.”
Operational Readiness Inspection
The USAFE IG conducted the ORI during a real-world deployment, which included units from the 435th ABW and the 86th AW, from July 11 to 19.
It was the first time that the USAFE IG agreed to give ORI credit for a real-world deployment, according to Col. B. Dawn Wheeler, USAFE IG.
During the phase-one inspection, the IG team evaluated the wings’ ability to “get out of town.” The wings deployed 150 personnel in three C-130s, and 56 tons of cargo in a K-135 and C-17 to the Darfur region of Sudan in support of a peace-keeping mission.
Normally, an ORI would be based on a simulated deployment with the IG giving “injects,” or variables, to test the deployment process, said Maj. Jeffery Menasco, 86th AW Inspections and Readiness chief.
During the inspection, the 86th AW faced ongoing missions, recalling deployed aircraft in Bulgaria and deploying aircraft to Spain for the space shuttle launch.
The deployment teams also worked through real-world encumbrances – the IG gave no “injects.” Airmen were issued real weapons and ammunition, and were given real intelligence and medical briefings with no preparation time as in regular ORIs.
“A no-notice ORI is a true testament of the wings’ readiness and ability to execute, more so then ORIs, when teams are given months to prepare,” said Col. Henry Sanders, 86th AW acting commander. “This contingency operation was a textbook picture of what Ramstein does on a regular basis.”
The deployment was graded “satisfactory,” with zero critical and nine major findings.
During the out-briefing, the IG awarded the 786th Security Forces Squadron’s Intelligence Flight with the Award of Excellence for its exceptional performance and professionalism that exceeded standards. Nine individuals were awarded the IG’s “Pat on the Back” for significant contributions toward the results.
***image2*** The second phase of the ORI, which will evaluate fighting at a simulated deployed location, is scheduled for April. This time, wings will have plenty of time to prepare as six exercises are scheduled.
“An ‘outstanding’ is on the horizon,” said Colonel Reavis.
Unit compliance inspection
The 435th ABW’s first UCI since “standing up” was July 24 through Monday, resulting in a “satisfactory” rating.
During the UCI, inspectors evaluated common core compliances based on Air Force, Department of Defense and USAFE instructions, and rated each unit with grades of outstanding, excellent, satisfactory, marginal or unsatisfactory.
“I don’t care what the rating was, I believe we’re the best wing in the Air Force and I am extremely proud of you. We’ve done outstanding work,” said Col. Kurt Lohide, 435th ABW commander, addressing theater filled with Airmen from the wing.
“To understand the impact of the UCI you need to put it in perspective,” said Colonel Lohide. “In the past month, the 435th ABW helped win the USAFE Installation Excellence Award, successfully passed a no-notice phase one ORI, supported the Global War on Terrorism, and provided day-to-day base operating support for Ramstein – one of the largest bases in our Air Force. The wing’s ability to excel in the UCI, in the midst of these other priority activities is a great testament to the Commitment to Excellence by the men and women of the 435th.”
During the out-briefing, the IG awarded six individuals and 14 subunits with the Award of Excellence for their exceptional performance and professionalism that exceeded standards. An additional 34 individuals and 26 subunits were awarded the IG’s “Pat on the Back” for significant contributions toward the results.