The past, present and the way ahead

  • Published
  • By Col. Gary Henderson
  • 23rd Wing commander
Over the past several months, the 23rd Wing has been preparing for the Air Combat Command Inspector General Operational Readiness Inspection re-look.

Without a doubt, our goal must remain to provide combat forces to theater commanders, which includes the skills needed to deploy our people and equipment in a rapid manner.
Our wing mission requires us to be "out in front" providing unmatched worldwide combat power to Attack, Rescue and Protect; it also demands our commitment to lead the way in preparing and executing our tasks on a daily basis.

Inspections that evaluate our operational readiness are how we demonstrate, to ourselves, our leaders and the world, our ability to meet our mission tasks. Our nation relies on us to fulfill our responsibility of defending our national interests and values; we will not let our country down.

As I have stated before, every Flying Tiger Airman has a role to play on our road to success in all our missions. I want to share with you my view of where we've been, where we are going, and how we will get there.

Where we've been: During the Operational Readiness Inspection, the wing fell short in several areas. We have made some improvement in most areas, but we need to increase the pace and magnitude of improvement in order to be ready for the re-look. We will then build upon this foundation to ensure our success continues into the future.

Where we are going: Last week, the Inspector General announced that our re-look date changed from January to the week of March 8-12. This gives us an additional 60 days to improve our processes and hone our individual skills.

To prepare, next week's Operational Readiness Exercise will go as planned, as well as have an exercise the week of Jan. 11-15 and a dress rehearsal the week of Feb. 22-26. This IG schedule change also delays our Phase II ORI until 2011, giving the wing more time to transition to the employment focus of a Phase II inspection.

How we will get there: We will continue to work on the critical areas of teamwork, attention to detail, and training as we move forward. Teamwork within the wing and with all our wing partners is essential to performing our missions. We will leverage the expertise of outside agencies, such as the Air Combat Command Deployment Assistance visit, Lessons Learned visit, as well as exercise evaluation assistance by various ACC and Air National Guard units.

To accomplish these tasks consistently and with precision, we will concentrate on robust training events for unit deployment managers, cargo monitors and various augmentees. Combined with a new leadership team and dedicated training on a daily basis, this emphasis will hone our abilities to deploy our forces to fly, fight and win.

The 23rd Wing and Team Moody have accomplished much in the past, and we all have an important role in tackling the challenges ahead. While never overlooking the care of our AF families and our deployed Airmen, we will demonstrate, with focused training and commitment, exactly how we deliver the best game-changing effects on the battlefield.