by Staff Sgt. Danielle Wolf
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
9/6/2011 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 442nd Fighter Wing received a satisfactory rating for the phase-one operational readiness inspection, Aug. 31 at the inspector general's out brief.
"We are impressed with the dedication and professionalism of this wing," said Col. Rickey Rodgers, Air Combat Command IG team chief. "Your hard work was evident. We do these inspections all the time, but when we were here (Aug. 28,) and the last jet was accepted, it was phenomenal - literally, nothing we've ever seen before."
While the satisfactory rating was not what some reservists expected, Rodgers, who was formerly the 509th Bomb Wing vice commander here, said he saw the wing deploy many times and knows they are fully combat capable.
"You haven't fallen short," he said. "You know how to get downrange, and I have extreme confidence in your ability to give any deployment commander exactly what he or she needs. The (inspection criteria we have to go by) cannot give you a grade on pride, professionalism and dedication - that's a grade this wing would certainly excel in."
Col. Eric Overturf, 442nd Fighter Wing commander, agreed with Rodgers that the wing knows how to deploy and how to complete the job - and hundreds of members will deploy in January and prove just that.
"Right now, there's a soldier, sailor, Airman or Marine serving in Afghanistan who is putting his life in the hands of an A-10 unit," Overturf said. "He doesn't know it yet, but the greatest A-10 unit is on its way. We're going to make sure at the end of his deployment, he comes home safely to his family."
Overturf said that while this may not be the rating some were expecting, wing members should be proud of themselves.
"I know some of you are disappointed that we didn't get an excellent or an outstanding," he said. "That's the grade we earned during this two-day snapshot, but I'm glad you're disappointed because that means this wing strives for excellence."
Overturf said the most important thing the wing should focus on now, is the direction it's headed.
"Don't let your disappointment change the future, especially when you're with your families. Focus on them right now, and focus on the fact that we have a real deployment coming up."
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Wirt, 442nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, said training for the phase-one inspection for the last year is going to benefit him as he helps prepare the wing for deployment.
"When you get deployed, you go into auto-pilot, because of training like what we (did) for the ORI," Wirt said. "It becomes second nature when you're there doing it for real."
Like Rodgers, Staff Sgt. Donald Johnston, 442nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, said it was fulfilling to see the aircraft taxi to the runway with zero discrepancies.
"We've drilled and practiced using our (personal protective equipment) and our technical data is where it (needed) to be."
During the exercise, the wing generated 16 aircraft to ensure the wing's tasking. Two ground spares were not necessary when 14 aircraft departed as scheduled with zero discrepancies. The aircraft generation and operations teams were rated, 'excellent' while the aircraft deployment team was rated, 'outstanding' - the highest rating the IG can give.
During the IG out brief, Rodgers said the IG team was especially impressed with the maintainers, who had an outstanding attitude.
"Everything that goes into an inspection like this - command and control; deployment processing, employment processing; information operations; and force protection - if any of those five pillars had failed, we wouldn't have passed this ORI," said Col. Gregory Eckfeld, 442nd FW vice commander. "All five areas met the stringent standards and expectations of the IG. Nobody was below the line; I'm very proud of this wing."
The 442nd Fighter Wing received a satisfactory rating during the phase-one operational readiness inspection, Aug. 27-28. The 442nd FW is an A-10 Thunderbolt II Air Force Reserve unit at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Danielle Wolf)
Please note: More related pictures will be uploaded soon.