JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
More than 600 Airmen from Joint Base Charleston returned from the Combat Readiness and Training Center at Gulf Port, Miss., Dec. 5 and 6 following the completion of their Operational Readiness Inspection.
For months leading up to the inspection, Airmen from the 315th Airlift Wing, 437th Airlift Wing and 628th Air Base Wing worked as one team to prepare for the week-long inspection where they combined to form the 121st Air Expeditionary Wing.
Active-Duty Airmen and Reservists banded together and proved how well their units could work together to form an air expeditionary wing far from home station.
"It was great to see the three wings come together to accomplish this extremely demanding inspection," said Col. Stephen Chapman, 315th Airlift Wing commander. "During the course of the last year we have been working hard to transform into a cohesive, seamless organization - "one team, no seam." This inspection proved, regardless of the challenge, we are up for any task put in front of us and we will accomplish with results second to none."
The inspection kicked off when the Air Mobility Command Inspector General team arrived at Joint Base Charleston Nov. 28 to evaluate the base's initial deployment response time. Members of the IG team observed how long it took Joint Base Charleston to process the team through the deployment line, generate aircraft, prepare tasked cargo and ensure deploying members' training was up-to-date prior to deploying.
"We have practiced processes and procedures for more than six months," said Col. Rich McComb, 628th Air Base Wing commander. "We have conducted exercises before this inspection to refine and hone our mobility machine. The logistics experts, aerial porters, and aircraft maintainers did not fail to impress. They rapidly generated 23 aircraft in 40 hours and sent over 600 Airmen and their equipment to where they were needed."
Upon arrival at the training center in Mississippi, the inspectors evaluated Charleston Airmen on their ability to set up in a remote location, support the mission, employ the forces and launch aircraft to perform humanitarian mission the ultimate reason for the deployment scenario - all while being attacked by conventional and unconventional means.
"I'm extremely proud of all of the Airmen of Team Charleston ... those who prepped the force at home station and those who deployed," said Col. Erik Hansen, commander of the 437th Airlift Wing, the designated lead wing for the inspection. "Their focus was clear and they proved their mettle with every challenge. It was inspirational to see how our Airmen kept positive attitudes and remained on task while being pushed to their limits over long hours. Their hard work paid off as the results of this inspection were vastly improved from our first operational readiness exercise."
Wings are graded using a five-tier rating system that enables the IG to assess the readiness of the force. The tiers are: outstanding, excellent, satisfactory, marginal and unsatisfactory. The results of the inspection will be announced to the base later this month.