Inspector General: There for the Wolf Pack
Inspector General: There for the Wolf Pack
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Every Airman at Kunsan Air Base plays a crucial role in supporting the Wolf Pack mission and this becomes even more apparent when it comes to the role of the 8th Fighter Wing inspector general, an office whose bottom line is keeping the Wolf Pack up to standards.
“[The] IG office is broken into two components, the inspection side and the complaints resolution side,” said Master Sgt. Bethany Gomez, 8th Fighter Wing IG superintendent and inspector general of inspections (IGI). “Both programs are designed to enhance the organization’s discipline, readiness and warfighting capability.”
The IGI is tasked with inspecting the mission, assessing and reporting on the overall readiness, economy, efficiency and the state of discipline of Airmen.
“Through our inspections and training events, we ensure that Airmen are practicing what they need to execute [their specific missions] during peacetime, contingency and wartime operations,” Gomez said. “We also ensure that all programs and processes are compliant.”
The inspector general of complaints resolution (IGQ) section listens and documents any complaints of the Wolf Pack.
“I’m basically a third party,” said Capt. Robert Cornia, 8th Fighter Wing IGQ. “Anything that you want to report but don’t want to go to your chain of command can come to me.”
Submitting complaints is not limited to just Airmen; civilians are also able to voice their concerns and ask for assistance.
“You can submit your complaint anonymously which means there’s some information that you don’t want tied or related to you [it can still be reported],” Cornia said.
A submitter can also file a complaint semi-anonymously or disclose their full identity. If the submitter files semi-anonymously the name of the submitter will remain only within the IGQ’s office but allows the submitter to receive feedback on their complaint. If the submitter files with their full identity, it will be used as part of the investigation and the submitter will receive feedback about their complaint.
“The biggest thing that IGQ does is that there’s a formal feedback loop,” Cornia said. “A feedback loop will let you know if the complaint you submitted has been looked at and potentially how it was resolved.”
At this base, if Cornia is not available, Gomez will take over as a backup due to her being sworn as an alternate IGQ, making hers a dual role for both sections. Gathering data on the progress of Airmen and programs on base along with potentially handling IGQ roles can be a very challenging job for an IGI, but thankfully it is not a one-person job.
“I do not work alone,” Gomez said. “I lead a team of three inspectors from diverse backgrounds, and we rely on the expertise of roughly 150 Wing Inspection Team members and 45 Self-Assessment Program Managers who are all experts in their fields to support our inspections and training events.”
Gomez’s and her team tackle daily operations such as directing planning conferences, training WIT and SAPM members, conducting inspections and updating statuses in Inspector General Evaluation Management System.
“The big challenge here is the complexity and scope of the training events,” Gomez said. “It can be daunting to plan a large-scale training event with competing and scarce resources, most specifically manning.”
Despite the challenges of being IG, the team prefers to look on the positive side.
“One of my favorite perks of the job is meeting new people and knowing what their roles are,” Gomez said. “It is like putting puzzle pieces together and seeing the big picture. Also, we become catalyst of change or process improvement agents by providing that feedback based on our findings during our inspections, which later helps units get after certain areas that need overhaul or improvement.”
Similarly, Cornia appreciates having interactions and conversations with Airmen.
“One of my favorite training briefings to do is the First Term Airman Course,” Cornia said. “I like giving half-time briefings about what inspector generals do and give the new Airmen advice on how to make their career more beneficial to them.”
Inspector generals are the eyes and ears of the base commander. Without them, not only could it have an impact on Airmen efficiency, but it could also be difficult for the Wolf Pack to meet its mission requirements.
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