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Yokota Air Base’s 374th Airlift Wing nearly aced its recent Unit Compliance Inspection and received an overall grade of “excellent” — the second highest rating — from the Pacific Air Forces Inspector General.

With each group evaluated also earning an “excellent” and every unit found to be in compliance with Air Force regulations, the wing notched the top UCI performance in PACAF for the last two years, base officials said.

“We complied with every requirement and no other PACAF base within at least the last two years has done that,” said 2nd Lt. Jessica Martin, a base spokeswoman.

Col. Mark Schissler, 374th commander, said, “‘Excellent’ ratings are always tough to obtain because unit or individual functions have to show they are exceeding a very high level of performance.”

During a UCI, inspectors zero in on process, programs and paperwork.

They “assess the wing’s compliance with established Air Force regulations,” said Maj. Allen Henderson of the 374th Airlift Wing Inspector General’s Office.

Each unit has its own requirements for day-to-day operations established by the Air Force, and “once it’s shown we’re meeting that criteria, we’re graded on how well we do that work,” Martin said.

About 100 PACAF inspectors evaluated the wing staff and the operations, maintenance and mission support groups. The medical group receives a separate inspection by a different agency, Martin said. A group’s grade is based on squadron performance.

Schissler said that several units within each group did exceptionally well.

The Auto Skills Center was “the best the PACAF (Inspector General) has ever seen,” Schissler said, quoting the IG team. And the contracting and aircraft maintenance squadrons and the wing’s Exercise Evaluation Team received an “outstanding.”

“It is nearly impossible to attain grades like that, especially in those squadrons,” the wing commander said.

Schissler attributes the wing’s success to the right attitude and thorough preparation.

“They spent the time to clean up their programs, their paperwork and this base,” he said. “They showed tremendous character, a totally positive attitude and non-stop professionalism from the minute the IG arrived.”

The commander also praised Yokota’s senior noncommissioned officers: “Success of a team only happens when there is strong leadership; our NCOs were nothing short of incredible as the wing prepared for the last six months.”

By doing so well in the inspection, the wing won’t have to worry about another UCI for two years; a sub-par grade would have brought the IG team back in 90 days, Henderson said.

Yokota’s UCI ran Jan. 12 to 16 and the wing’s results were announced Jan. 20. A huge party was held at the Enlisted Club following the UCI outbriefing, Schissler said, and hundreds of people turned out to celebrate and enjoy free food.

“One of our rewards is just knowing how well we did — there’s often no way to really repay the kind of effort folks put into the preparation,” Schissler said.

Though he’s proud of Yokota’s strong rating, inspections like the UCI “are just indicators of how ready a unit is to succeed in war,” Schissler said. “That is our job and we are ready.”

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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