Kadena sets high benchmark with its ‘excellent’ inspection
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Stress levels among the island’s airmen took a collective nose dive after Pacific Air Force command completed its Unit Compliance Inspection earlier this month.
Now the results are in: The base earned an overall “excellent” rating, as did four of its groups and one staff agency. Of the 33 squadrons and staff agencies reviewed, none received a rating lower than “satisfactory,” and the majority received either an “excellent” or the top rating of “outstanding.”
The inspection comes every three years and includes almost anything the inspectors general want to examine in almost all of Kadena Air Base’s squadrons. That could mean a review of weapons systems for one squadron and, for another, of progress made on bar coding its refrigerators’ doors.
It’s so comprehensive that Kadena’s inspector general office prepared the base for the inspection in three phases, beginning in 2004.
Base officials say they are very happy with the results, especially since they know other Pacific bases were watching closely.
“This was a very strong excellent rating,” said 18th Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas. “It sets a benchmark for the rest of the commands.”
The rating comes even as some squadrons dealt with manpower shortages and heavy deployments. Although Jouas may take such circumstances into account, he said, he had no expectation Pacific command inspectors would do the same.
“They don’t really carry much sympathy since this is Air Forcewide,” he said.
Ratings and details below the group level could not be released publicly due to national security concerns, officials said.
However, well before the inspection, which took place during the first week of November, the 18th Wing Inspector General’s office reviewed squadrons and staff offices thoroughly. In that pre-inspection inspection, Maj. Trey Mykytyn, inspections chief, and his team came up with 2,000 points requiring attention.
“Our intent was to be as hard as we could on ourselves,” Mykytyn said.
That meant longer hours and weekend work for many of Kadena’s airmen during the past few months, including for Senior Airman Ricky Mustion, one of a few dozen airmen and civilians recognized as “outstanding” performers. Mustion said his days often began at 4:30 a.m. and ended 12 hours later.
The toughest part was not knowing what the inspector would be interested in reviewing, said Mustion, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of intelligence at the 44th Fighter Squadron. “A lot of us had never been through the UCI before.”
Inspection results will be reviewed when the base prepares for its 2008 inspection, said inspector general Col. David Timm, who arrived at Kadena in August. Timm credited well-defined individual roles and commander commitment to the inspection for the base’s rating, saying, “Without that leadership, our effort would not have progressed.”