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Florida Sets Standard with Fighter Wing Inspection

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Col. Brian Simpler, 125th Fighter Wing commander, announced Tuesday to a room full of Airmen that the Wing had earned a "Highly Effective" rating from the Air Combat Command Inspector General team. This rating is nearly unprecedented in both Active and Reserve components of the United States Air Force.

The 125th Fighter Wing (125FW) received its first inspection under the new Air Force Inspection System (AFIS) Oct. 16-19. AFIS was announced approximately two years ago in an effort by the United States Air Force to create "mission ready" units, not "inspection ready" units.

The days of spending countless resources before inspections, or what many referred to as "painting rocks," are over. Today's Air Force is focused on empowering commanders to ensure their Wings are 'Always On Mission.'

The new system is broken down into four graded components: managing resources, leading people, improving the unit and executing the mission. AFIS has allowed units to eliminate "inspection prep," which wasted valuable time and resources, in turn allowing those efforts to be focused on commander priorities.

"AFIS eliminates the last-minute rush to make things look good," said 1st Lt. Justin Elliott, 125th Fighter Wing, Inspection Planner. "We have made inspecting a continual process, ensuring our ability to complete the mission is unwavering."

The 125th Inspector General Inspections (IGI) team has been in place for the last two years managing internal inspections state-wide. This team, led by Maj. Jackson Whiting, has worked countless hours planning and implementing inspections and exercises in an effort to self-identify areas that need work and report them to leadership.

The IGI team along with the Wing Inspection Team (WIT), a group or wing subject matter experts, ensure the wing is inspected across all areas based on the commander's priorities. The inspection results are reported to the commander and ultimately to the major command's inspector general.

"The work that was done over the last two years is nothing less that exceptional," said Simpler. "Under Maj. Whiting's leadership, our Commanders Inspection Program has set the standard for the rest of the Air Force to follow."

Although the word commander is emphasized in the inspection program it was clear the recognition went to the Airmen of the 125FW. A majority of the morning was spent highlighting the total team effort required to achieve this rating. More than 40 Airmen were called forward to accept certificates and recognition from leadership for exceptional performance.

"These results validate what we knew all along--our Airmen are well trained and execute their mission with a great deal of proficiency," Simpler remarked. "Our leaders at all levels are engaged, focused on their Airmen and dedicated to improving their units. These results place us in the very top tier of all Air Force units."

The 125th Fighter Wing is not shy about aspiring to be the 'Premier Fighter Wing' in the country and after its recent Unit Effectiveness Inspection that aspiration may be a reality.