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174th Attack Wing Receives "Excellent" Inspection Ratings

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert P. Givens (left), Inspector General, Air Combat Command (ACC), meets with N.Y. Air National Guard Col. Greg A Semmel (middle), Commander, 174th Attack Wing, at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, Fort Drum, Watertown NY on October 20, 2012. Givens was visiting the 174th's MQ-9 Reaper Launch and Recovery element at Wheeler-Sack during the ACC's Compliance Inspection. (N.Y. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert P. Givens (left), Inspector General, Air Combat Command (ACC), meets with N.Y. Air National Guard Col. Greg A Semmel (middle), Commander, 174th Attack Wing, at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, Fort Drum, Watertown NY on October 20, 2012. Givens was visiting the 174th's MQ-9 Reaper Launch and Recovery element at Wheeler-Sack during the ACC's Compliance Inspection. (N.Y. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York -- After six days of scrutiny by 64 inspectors from the U.S. Air Force's Air Combat Command (ACC) and 33 inspectors from the National Guard Bureau, the 174th Attack Wing passed its Compliance Inspection (CI) and Logistics Compliance Assessment Program (LCAP) inspections, both of which focus on processes and documentation, with overall "Excellent" ratings. Significantly, this was the first time that any unit earned an "Excellent" rating under the new five-tier CI rating system.

The inspection teams evaluated every aspect of how the 174th ATKW prepares to meet its mission to provide qualified airmen and weapon systems to joint global air, space and cyberspace operations. Leading the ACC IG team was Inspector General Col Douglas Miller, who was accompanied by 63 hand-picked subject matter experts from units throughout the ACC.

"There was a tremendous sense of pride and focus evident throughout the 174th Attack Wing and many characteristics of exemplary teamwork," said Col Miller during the inspection out brief. "The entire IG Team was impressed by the pride and professionalism of the 174th."

Compliance inspections are conducted to assess areas mandated by law as well as mission areas that are critical or important to the health and performance of an organization and to help standardize the way the Air Force conducts operations across the board, including active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard. The inspection was based on Air Force Instructions, local, state, federal, and Department of Defense requirements.

The grading process, which measures how the units meet the established requirements, has refined the traditional grading process that used to use three grading categories: "complies," "complies with comments" and "non-compliant," to now using five categories: Outstanding, Excellent, Satisfactory, Marginal and Unsatisfactory.

Twelve programs were considered "superior performance teams" for the Wing and for the Air Force as a whole. One of those teams, the Adirondack Range, received an "outstanding" rating. The range, which is also known as 174ATKW Operations Group Detachment 1, includes an operation center and target area on the Form Drum Army installation to provide air-to-ground bombing and gunnery training.

Besides the units doing well in their sections, 47 individual members of the Wing stood out to the CI team as Superior Performers and three where presented with the coveted IG coin. 

"It's important to have teams to conduct these inspections and ensure we're complying with Air Force guidance," said Maj Gen Verle Johnston, Commander, New York Air National Guard. "I've never seen anything close to this number of Superior Performers - 47 - very impressive. Given the transition to the new missions, and "Excellent" in the inspection is terrific. I'm proud, and the New York Air National Guard is proud."

Preparations and logistical support started back in 2011 when an Inspection Work Group initially led by Col Charles Dorsey (and subsequently led by Lt Col Catherine Hutson) was appointed. Preparation included an assessment of compliance within each functional area, and logistical planning for the actual CI inspection. Weekly meetings were held by the team, allowing every unit to discuss their compliance status. This was the 174th's first Compliance Inspection since it began flying the MQ-9 Reaper in 2009.

"I commend this IG Team for a 'tough but fair' inspection," said New York Air National Guard Col Greg Semmel, 174th Attack Wing Commander. "The team went above and beyond in their charge to inspect, evaluate, educate and motivate and we thank them for setting the climate of Total Force."

Col Semmel added, "Look at all we've done since our last CI inspection in 2007: four Site Activation Task Forces here at Hancock Field, conversion from the F-16 to MQ-9 Reaper, flying combat air patrols overseas 24/7/365 and having our 274th Air Support Operations Squadron deploy overseas on regular basis. The results validated what we have known all along -- that we are a world-class flying and training wing, and we're doing our missions safely and effectively."

In closing, Col Miller said, "Thanks for what you do for America and our Air Force."