Tuesday, December 16, 2008

442nd Operations Group flying high after 'outstanding' inspection

by Staff Sgt. Kent Kagarise
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

12/15/2008 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 442nd Operations Group scored an "outstanding" rating on their standardization and evaluation inspection conducted Aug. 25 to 27 by a formal inspection team from Headquarters 9th Air Force.

The Standardization and Evaluation Program is a tool designed to maintain and monitor pilot qualifications in the A-10 and validates squadron training programs every four years.

A large part of the Ninth Air Force Formal Stan/Eval Visit consisted of individual pilot flight evaluations, during which evaluators ensured 303rd Fighter Squadron pilots were qualified in the A-10 and all its missions. In addition, the evaluators reviewed the unit's standardization and evaluation program, to include all documentation pertaining to each pilot's prior performance and qualifications in the weapons system.

The Ninth Air Force team administered 23 flight evaluations and eight simulator evaluations. Half of the 303rd Fighter Squadron pilots and all of the unit's own evaluators were inspected. Half the inspection grade was based on how well pilots performed, while the other half was based on how well the current program was executed and documented by the 442nd Operations Group.

"Our pilots and Standardization and Evaluation Program are at the highest level. I've never heard of anyone doing this well," said Lt. Col. Michael Leonas, chief of the Standardization and Evaluation Program here.

Colonel Leonas noted that the Stan/Eval Program is executed on behalf of Col. John Hoff, 442nd Operations Group Commander, and Lt. Col. Mark Ernewein, 303rd Fighter Squadron commander, and pointed out much of the credit goes to the maintenance group, pilots, and especially Capt. Adam Ratican, 303rd FS pilot who spent many pain-staking hours checking publications and documents.

"One of the many aspects of the Stan/Eval program is to achieve a full confirmation in all aspects of flying," Colonel Leonas said. "The last couple of years the program has been tailored toward sorties in Afghanistan and now it's up to a higher threat for the up-coming Operational Readiness Inspection tasking."

"The wing should be very proud of this accomplishment," said Lt. Col. Kim Thein, Deputy Chief of 9th Air Force Stan/Eval and Team Chief for the Formal Visit. He went on to say, "These grades say a lot about the unit. I personally have never seen a flying organization score this high, although my team claims they saw one a couple of years ago...at any rate, this easily puts them in the top two."

The pride of the Wing is best expressed by Col. Mark Clemons 442nd FW Commander, "to have been Chief of Stan/Eval and now a wing commander, I've never seen an inspection as great as this one - bar none! It's a tribute to the men and women of the 442nd FW to perform with such high professionalism and attain such a result."

The score "OUTSTANDING" which is written in bold lettering on the front of the Ninth AF Stan/Eval inspection report is defined as: "Performance and procedures in effect were error free and far exceeded all requirements. Program serves as a model others should emulate." Source

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