Yokota 374th Wing's Samurai Readiness Inspection? Check.

Firemen from the Yokota Fire Department check each others protective equipment before fighting a fire from a simulted Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device during the Samurai Readiness Inspection at Yokota Air Base March 4, 2014.

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Yokota’s 374th Airlift Wing completed the Samurai Readiness Inspection, part of the Air Force’s new way of testing its capabilities.

The new inspection system lets commanders decide if their units are up to speed, and if not, how to make the necessary improvements. The commander is then held accountable to those decisions.

Col. Mark August, the 374th Airlift Wing commander, said the new inspection rules offered a more flexible and less expensive way of judging readiness.

"We’re going to save money by not doing that,” he said . “I’m setting the priorities and I’m setting the inspection goals, so that’s exactly what I’m looking at how I can maintain readiness.”

August said he expects the new inspection system will help identify where commanders will have to accept more risk to maintain readiness as the Air Force prepares to draw down its size.

This week’s inspection evaluated airmen in 90 different scenarios, ranging from a sexual assault to a chemical attack. Scenarios ran 24 hours a day with each airman pulling 14-hour shifts.

“We train our guys to follow the protocol and to learn the manual. But we also teach them that sometimes it won’t always work like the book,” said Tech Sgt. Jonathan Cooley of Camp Springs, Md. “It doesn’t matter how many inspections you have or what simulated scenario comes up, as long as I convince my guys to treat everyone with the respect and care they deserve, they will always do well.”

Twitter: @james_kimber

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