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"Excellent" says it all
Story and photos by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA

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.

Master Sgt. Anthony C. Henchinski, center, and Senior Airman Justyna M. Janasik, right, along with Airmen of the 177th Fighter Wing applaud after hearing the news that the Wing received an "Excellent" rating on the Operational Readiness Inspection. Janasik was one of two Airmen to be coined by Inspector General during the inspection. U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA.

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 as 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 were high: units that fail ORIs risk losing their missions; loss of mission could equal unit closure.

Unfortunately many units have failed – the inspection is that tough.

The 177th pooled the lessons learned from those visits and for the six months prior to the inspection, ran operational readiness exercises, which replicate the inspection's mission requirements and stress.

It paid off.

The IG recognized 33 Airmen and 12 teams, which represent the entire range of Wing functions for their performance during the inspection.

Excellent work 177th.

A 177th Fighter Wing Security Force Airman prepares for an attack during the Operational Readiness Exercise on Oct. 5, 2009. U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Andrew Moseley, 177FW/PA.

Table of Contents
Volume 35 Number 1 Staff / Information
(c) 2010 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs