WIT program strengthens Airmen’s readiness

Base Info
A wing inspection team member evaluates the performace of fire fighters from the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron during a mass casualty exercise at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 17, 2014. The intent of the program is to inspect, document and educate Airmen on how to perform their jobs better in any scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster)
A wing inspection team member evaluates the performace of fire fighters from the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron during a mass casualty exercise at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 17, 2014. The intent of the program is to inspect, document and educate Airmen on how to perform their jobs better in any scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster)

WIT program strengthens Airmen’s readiness

by: Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs | .
Osan Air Base | .
published: October 11, 2014

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- From treating the injured to maintaining jets for flight, Airmen are trained and expected to perform their duties in every circumstance. In a wartime environment, it becomes harder to perform duties as they would be done while at peace. No person can ever be completely ready to go to war, but everyone can train to be better prepared.

At permanent duty stations across the globe, Airmen and their units are inspected and evaluated by a team of selected individuals during inspections and exercises. These evaluators are known as the wing inspection team.

The WIT program is run by the wing Inspector General's office and governed by AFI 90-201.The intent of the program is to inspect, document and educate Airmen on how to perform their jobs better in any scenario.

"During exercises, WIT works directly for the Inspector General," said Lt. Col. Richard Waldrop, 51st Fighter Wing inspector general. "They are the eyes and ears of the IG to evaluate, inspect and write up the reports for the wing commander to see how the wing is doing in meeting regulation compliance and mission effectiveness requirements."

Team Osan consists of many subject matter experts. WIT members are NCOs and officers who are recognized as highly regarded and proven SMEs of their fields by their squadron commanders.

"We have to enlist groups of Airmen who have the necessary experience and expertise to know thoroughly what they are evaluating," Waldrop said.

The program is an important part of improving Team Osan's mission.

"We use the subject matter experts who know how to improve the unit," said Waldrop. "They are going to be the ones to help evaluate the unit's performance and be those trainers that know how to overcome the deficiencies. The goals now within the Air Force Inspection System are to look for the areas of deficiencies and use the experts within the units to fix them."

Staff Sgt. John Reyes, 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron medical standards technician and Medical Group WIT member, adds his thoughts as a WIT member.

"It gives us that ability to find out what works and what doesn't, so when something real world does happen we aren't doing something that doesn't work," he said.

Reyes believes the WIT program gears Airmen up for real world situations by learning and growing from their mistakes in a controlled environment.

"In the readiness sense, it helps prepare Airmen for real world situations," he said. "Being here at Osan I was able to see how I fit into the bigger picture. The program gives us perspective on what we should keep doing and what we need to improve on."

The WIT program has been highly successful since its formation a year ago.  However, it still has challenges.

"What we are challenged with right now is turning short term successes into long term successes," said Waldrop. "We are working on the road map ahead to ensure the program continues to improve and become the inspection program the wing and unit commanders need."

Maj. Joseph Markowski, 51st FW Inspector General Inspection's director, is always looking for ways to improve the program.

"One way we can improve is to make the program more robust and systematic by using past star performers," he said. "If someone moves to Osan and was a subject matter expert at a previous location, then commanders could appoint that individual as a WIT member for their team once they finish their mission orientation here at Osan.

"Another way we can improve upon the success of the WIT program is by opening lines of communication between commanders and their WIT members. By talking about our past experiences as a team, we can target our weaknesses and effectively plan future events."

The IGI office will continue to work with WIT members to find new ways to strengthen the program so Airman become more mission ready and are prepared to fight tonight.

"The IG is not looking to build a test that we can pass with flying colors," said Waldrop. "We want to build a tough exam that's going to stress us and find our weak points in order to strengthen the team."

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