The U.S. Air Forces in Europe Inspector General team gave the results of the dual-wing Ramstein unit compliance inspection to a packed crowd Tuesday in Hangar
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.
Last summer, 86th Airlift Wing and 435th Air Base Wing leaders made the decision to hold a combined UCI, showing the wings are truly “one team, one fight.”
Despite a seemingly daunting task, it proved successful with Team Ramstein receiving an overall excellent rating.
“Though we represent two wings, nine groups, 39 squadrons and 10,000 personnel … it comes down to one excellent team,” said Col. Don Bacon, 435th ABW commander.
For two weeks, inspectors pored through the 86th AW and 435th ABW’s “business.” It was a difficult feat considering what that “business” is – an airlift wing that provides theater, DV and aeromedical airlift, theater-wide communications and contingency response, and an air base wing responsible for supporting three wings, more than 14 geographically separated units, two numbered Air Forces, USAFE, NATO and more than 54,000 KMC members.
So if inspecting the conglomerate of “one of a kinders” that make up the 86th AW or the Air Force’s largest ABW doesn’t raise an eyebrow, combining the two certainly was a challenge.
“We showed USAFE how to get the job done … now they can go to any other unit and say ‘Ramstein is the biggest out there and they can do it,’” said Col. Doug Sevier, 86th AW vice commander. “Thanks to the IG team, it was a fair and thorough look.”
The impressive stats don’t stop there though.
Despite the challenges that come with being a successful dual-wing team, Ramstein has proven it’s a relationship that work’s well here. The proof is in the recognition. The USAFE IG team recognized more than 30 individuals and teams with their Award of Excellence, and five were given individual Awards of Excellence for Leadership.
“The results of this inspection are better than we thought possible given today’s restraints,” said Col. Robert Suminsby, USAFE IG, adding that even the inspection team was apprehensive about tackling the “monster that is Ramstein.”
In the end, however, the inspectors were wowed by what they saw.
“We saw a terrific attitude of cooperation and teamwork down the line,” Colonel Suminsby said, adding that many programs were the best they’ve seen in USAFE. “Just the number of individual and team awards tells you what great work is happening here.”
The award recognition was greatly received, but came as no surprise to wing leadership; it simply validated what they already knew about their wing members and the work they do every day.
“Thank you all for the hard work you do. I’m proud to be a part of this team, and you should be proud too,” Colonel Bacon said. “We have a good right to smile today.”
Though the morning was focused on applause and celebration, it also offered time to reflect on the importance of the UCI process in maintaining compliance and finding areas for improvement.
“The real measure of how you did in this inspection is what your programs look like a year from today,” Colonel Suminsby said. “The hard part is yet to be done … it’s what will make us a better Air Force.”
Check out next week’s KA for a full list of individual and team award winners.