COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Team BLAZE, as you are all aware, our Unit Effectiveness Inspection Capstone event begins next week from Jan. 23-30.
I am grateful for the opportunity to host our Major Command Inspector General during this week so they can see what I see each and every day.
The 14th Flying Training Wing has an outstanding team of Airmen, consisting of active duty, guard, reserve, civil service, non-appropriated fund employees, international partners, contractors, community partners, and families, doing amazing things in order to accomplish our primary mission to Produce Pilots, Advance Airmen, and Feed the Fight. This team of Airmen also ensures we continue to maintain our wing vision that Columbus Air Force Base remains the premier pilot training wing and community developing the world’s best Airmen.
As a reminder to those who are new to the Air Force Inspection System way of doing business, as well as to those of us who grew up under a very different system, we no longer “spin-up” for an inspection. Under the old system, wings would often prepare for several months in order to look good for a week-long inspection. That inspection system would certainly provide an assessment for how a wing was able to accomplish the mission for that one-week period, but what about the rest of the two-year cycle?
Once the polish wore off from preparing for an inspection, were those wings still ready to execute the mission? In many cases, I believe the answer was yes, in other cases, perhaps not. The new system is much improved and no longer requires, or allows, for a wing to “spin-up” for an inspection.
Under the new program, the Commander “owns” the Inspection Program, this is known as CCIP and we continually report to our MAJCOM IG on our Major Graded Areas and our assessment of how the wing executes the mission, manages resources, improves the unit, and leads people. In other words, the MAJCOM IG has been inspecting us virtually for two years and they are simply here next week to validate and verify what we have been reporting. In addition, they are looking for undetected non-compliance.
I don’t expect us to be perfect, just to strive for perfection in all we do. However, we know we will not always be 100 percent compliant in all areas at all times for a variety of valid reasons. I’m good with that, as long as we identify we are not in compliance, report it properly through the CCIP processes, and come up with a plan to get well or take risk as appropriate. In other words, I am not afraid to identify, operate, report in the “red,” I just don’t want us to get comfortable and “live in the red.”
I am confident in our inspection program and the level of ownership and buy-in we have at all levels across the wing. We are blessed with passionate Airmen who work incredibly hard to execute our mission while simultaneously taking care of our Airmen and their families. We have engaged leaders who take appropriate risk as they try to strike the perfect balance between mission and people, between sometimes conflicting higher headquarters guidance, and often a lack of resources.
I am proud of Team BLAZE and look forward to watching you demonstrate to our MAJCOM IG not only how we execute our primary mission to Produce Pilots, Advance Airmen, and Feed the Fight, but also demonstrate how we honor and embrace the BLAZE motto: Build Leaders, Advance Integrity, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do!
The UEI is our Super Bowl. Many coaches would be nervous as they approach their most important game of the year, but I am not worried. No team gets ready for the Super Bowl by “prepping” at the last minute, we have not either. They prepare all year long, off-season, pre-season, regular season, and post-season, and we have too. Game ready equals Super Bowl ready. Mission ready equals inspection ready.
I know we are ready. We continuously strive to improve ourselves as we execute the mission and take care of our Airmen and their families and I can’t wait for Team BLAZE to prove it.