Production Assessment Team visits 125th Fighter Wing

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Chelsea Smith
  • 125th Fighter Wing

The F-15C Eagle aircraft flown by the 125th Fighter Wing are alive and full of lethality due to the care and precision brought by its maintainers. Yet, when equipment breaks, commanders and pilots rely on maintainer expertise to return jets to their flying mission.

To increase aircraft availability and meet the requirements outlined in the National Defense Strategy and the National Military Strategy, senior officials of the 125th Fighter Wing welcomed a Production Assessment Team (PAT), July 11-14, to improve resource management practices and increase fleet readiness.

The PAT, led by Col. Brian McCullough, is composed of a team of subject matter experts who partner with flying units to improve maintenance processes, increase efficiency, and offer data driven solutions. These experts are selected from the National Guard Bureau and units across the Air National Guard.

“We are looking at ways to become more efficient and better our processes so that we can answer our responsibility to our combatant commanders, DoD secretaries, and our nation,” said McCullough. “The visits are not designed to be a precursor to any official inspection but solely as an avenue to increase fleet readiness. We make recommendations that are proven and derived from Air Force Instructions (AFIs) and Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs). We’re zero threat, so we want people to be honest brokers.”

During the assessment, Col. George Downs, 125th Fighter Wing commander, along with his senior staff, received an in-brief outlining the purpose of the visit, deliverables to expect, and an assessment of fleet health. Throughout the week, members of the PAT engaged in smaller groups to assess overall production and fleet readiness. They focused on areas impacting aircraft availability such as quality assurance programs, supply needs, and manpower constraints.

Master Sgt. Frank Hastings, a 125th Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector, met with Master Sgt. Jennifer Frisina, the ANG’s functional area manager from the Technical Order Distribution Office, to identify deficiencies and exchange best practices, he said.

“She offered suggestions on improving our Root Cause Analysis to truly capture trending data,” he said. “This will assist leadership in directing training and resources to areas that are highly deficient. It was also great to network with individuals and put names to faces. Everyone you meet in your career can possibly be someone that can assist you in the future.”

At the conclusion, the 125th FW received a written assessment report with recommendations on how to improve fleet management and increase aircraft availability and fleet readiness. To track progress made on the recommendations, the PAT checks in at six weeks, 12 weeks, and quarterly intervals until an agreed upon end date. To remain engaged at an enterprise level, units have access to a PAT SharePoint that tracks metrics and provides a space for knowledge sharing, according to McCullough.

“The hope is that it sparks units to want to achieve better outcomes when they can see how they’re racked and stacked among other units operating the same airframe,” said McCullough. “And as a result, you will see an incremental increase in mission capability and aircraft availability rates.”

“Our priority is long-term fleet health,” said McCullough. “So, if we can capture potential growth areas and implement the necessary changes, hopefully, we will incrementally increase aircraft availability.”

The PAT’s visit to the 125th FW was the 15th assessment conducted since its formation in early 2022. The visit precedes the arrival of the wing’s first F-35 Lightning II aircraft, expected in 2024.