By Tech. Sgt Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA
/ Published October 15, 2009
Egg Harbor Township, NJ -- More than a year's worth of hard work was summarized by a single word: "Excellent."
This word and grade ensures the 177th Fighter Wing's future and means it is fully capable of performing its wartime mission - keeping jets flying and taking the fight to the enemy.
The 177th went through its first Operational Readiness Inspection in 13 years by the Air Combat Command Office of the Inspector General from Oct. 2-8.
Normally these inspections are held every five years.
September 11 changed that and as a result the 177th fell out of the inspection cycle.
The IG rates wings on three areas: Employment, which is about mission effectiveness - keeping the aircraft flying and putting bombs on target; Mission Support, which covers everything from logistics to engineering, command and control to medical, and finally the Ability To Survive and Operate - how wing personnel react to an attack, and more important how quickly they recover in order to get back to the primary mission of refueling, loading weapons and launching aircraft to continue the fight.
These areas are then broken into sub groups; failure in any one can be catastrophic to the entire wing.
The IG grades all these areas and sub groups either Outstanding, Excellent, Satisfactory, Marginal or Unsatisfactory.
In preparation, the Jersey Airmen travelled nationwide to observe how other Guard wings were training; then watched them perform during their ORIs.
The stakes are high: units that fail risk losing their missions; loss of mission could equal unit closure.
Unfortunately many units failed - the inspection is that tough.
The 177th pooled the lessons learned from those visits and nearly every month for the last six months have been running operational readiness exercises, which replicate the inspection's mission requirements and stress.
It paid off.
The IG recognized 33 Airmen and 12 teams, which are representative of the entire range of Wing functions for their performance during the inspection.
Excellent work 177th.