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Airman 1st Class Christopher Wash, left, and Airman Mabel Areola, from the 14th Fighter Squadron at Misawa Air Base, Japan, load munitions onto an F-16.
Airman 1st Class Christopher Wash, left, and Airman Mabel Areola, from the 14th Fighter Squadron at Misawa Air Base, Japan, load munitions onto an F-16. (Marcus McDonald / USAF)
Airman 1st Class Christopher Wash, left, and Airman Mabel Areola, from the 14th Fighter Squadron at Misawa Air Base, Japan, load munitions onto an F-16.
Airman 1st Class Christopher Wash, left, and Airman Mabel Areola, from the 14th Fighter Squadron at Misawa Air Base, Japan, load munitions onto an F-16. (Marcus McDonald / USAF)
Airman 1st Class Stephen Ceo, 35th Security Forces Squadron, keeps eye on front lines from his bunker Sunday at Misawa Air Base, Japan.
Airman 1st Class Stephen Ceo, 35th Security Forces Squadron, keeps eye on front lines from his bunker Sunday at Misawa Air Base, Japan. (Marcus McDonald / USAF)

About 135 Inspector General personnel from around the Pacific are at Misawa Air Base, Japan, to assess the 35th Fighter Wing’s combat readiness.

It’s the first Operational Readiness Inspection at Misawa since Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. William Begert mandated a year ago that all PACAF bases adopt the comprehensive inspection format.

Inspectors are evaluating the ability of the wing’s 3,500 airmen to deploy and receive troops, as well as defend its home station.

“Most of these units are ready to go to war,” said Col. David Fadok, PACAF inspector general. “We like to say we’re on the road, validating unit readiness.”

The team has been at Misawa since Oct. 15, but the inspection began Oct. 20. The inspection is broken down into two phases, each lasting about three to four days with a 12- to 24-hour pause in between phases. After compiling data and observations this week, the team expects to inform the wing Friday on how it performed, Fadok said.

“We write up the strengths and findings, come up with a grade” and do a formal out-brief, he said.

During the first half of the inspection, the wing was tested on its ability to mobilize and deploy combat power. Areas assessed included: recalling and accounting for wing personnel; personnel readiness, to include availability of shot records and dog tags; processing cargo to be deployed, and generating sorties. The wing also had to demonstrate an ability to “receive and bed-down follow-on forces,” Fadok said.

“If a conflict were to start, there’s a portion of Misawa that packs up and leaves … and also forces that will flow into Misawa in order to support the fight,” Fadok said.

For the second phase of the inspection, inspectors tried to create as realistic a threat environment as possible, Fadok said. The wing was assessed on its ability to use combat power at a fictional deployed location while under threat of attack, be it enemy missiles, ground forces or other methods.

Commands at Osan and Kunsan air bases in South Korea were the first PACAF units to be tested this spring. Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base recently completed one as well. The inspection combines the previously separate Initial Response Readiness Inspection and Combat Employment Readiness Inspection. All PACAF wings will undergo the inspection every 45 months, except for those in South Korea, which receive an Operational Readiness Inspection every two years.

“They’re closer to potential hostilities … and Korean units have a pretty rapid turnover,” Fadok said.

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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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