BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
As Airmen we have almost all experienced at least one wing-level exercise and the curveballs it can bring to an otherwise normal duty day.
However, what most don’t realize is there is a team, the Wing Inspection Team, comprised of hundreds of members across the installation. These members are dedicated to ensuring wing-level readiness for real-world situations.
It's the mission of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing inspector general office to organize this team and provide leadership for exercises, which are mandated by Air Force Instructions.
“We are the eyes and ears for the commander,” said Maj. Pierre Romeo, 12th Reconnaissance Squadron chief inspector. “We make sure the wing is in compliance and that it can execute its missions effectively.”
James Holman, 9th RW Wing Inspection Team manager, said they usually have multiple exercises being put together at a time, each taking up to three months of planning and coordination to finalize.
“Prior to these inspections there is a lot of planning,” said Holman. “We have to meet with the wing commander and vice wing commander to hear their intent and what they want to see and they give us guidelines.”
According to Holman, the 9th RW IG isn't the only one involved in planning exercises.
“We rely on the Wing Inspection Team members for assistance and will have four or five planning meetings with them,” he said. “There are 245 members throughout the base representing all the squadrons.”
Holman also stressed the importance of having WIT members from various Air Force specialty codes and the expertise they can provide.
“I don't know enough about every AFSC, so I rely on the WIT to know how someone from their shop is supposed to respond during certain situations,” explained Holman. “Without the WIT, the exercises can't happen.”
The exercises planned by the 9th RW IG allow shops to see deficiencies, which need to be addressed.
“Finding deficiencies is not necessarily a bad thing because they can address them and make sure those mistakes aren't made in a real-world situation,” said Romeo.
Exercises aren’t always about highlighting shortcomings, they also allow the IG team to recognize strengths and those who are doing the job well.
While Holman and Romeo know that not everyone enjoys being critiqued, they agree it is important to execute exercises to help make sure the wing is maintaining the highest standards of safety and readiness.
“We want people to see the bigger picture,” said Romeo. “We need to see how the 9th RW as an organization is doing their mission, and each shop is very important to the bigger picture.”