IG: ‘Guardian of Air Force readiness’

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • Robins Public Affairs

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – Preparedness, efficiency and effectiveness are some aspects of the mission for the 78th Air Base Wing Inspector General office at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

“We are the eyes and ears of the commander,” said Lee Nelson, 78th ABW Inspector General. “Our job is working with Robins Installation Commander Col. Lindsay Droz and all commanders by giving them that outside look and assessing if Robins is meeting Air Force standards. We want to know if we are where we need to be from a readiness and compliance perspective regarding exercises and inspections with our Airmen.”

The IG office conducts exercises as part of the Air Force Inspection System.

“We carry a huge load,” Nelson said. “In IG training we are taught that this office is the guardian of Air Force readiness. I love that phrase.

“Every commander is doing their job trying to get their people ready to deploy, perform their mission, and back home safe,” he continued. “We’re that objective component that goes in and really validates what they are doing.”

A part of the AFIS is the Wing Inspections mission of which Jo Ann Campbell, 78th ABW IG exercise planner, oversees as manager at Robins.

“The Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force see inspections as a way to improve units here at Robins and across the Air Force,” said Campbell. “My job requires weeks or months of detailed planning for exercises that include a variety of personnel and resources depending on the objective.”

The Wing Inspection Team, led by the IG office and composed of subject matter experts from across the wing, creates exercises using guidance from the IG Inspections Division to review the wing mission, vision and priorities, along with federal guidance and instructions at every level from the squadron.

Putting plans into play is Christine Hawkins.

As another 78th ABW exercise planner, Hawkins is responsible for conducting at least two full spectrum readiness exercises each year.

“We go above what’s required,” Hawkins said. “By the end of this calendar year, we will have conducted six Full Spectrum Readiness exercises, which evaluate Airmen’s ability to deploy getting passengers on airplanes to go to whatever mission is at hand.

“I go through everybody’s plans to see how those plans tie into the organization that’s involved,” She continued. “When you build an exercise, we are putting to test all those things they say they can execute, and we want to make sure it is sufficient. My exercises are not easy because I want them prepared. I’m looking for holes in plans all in an effort to make them better.”

For example, active, guard and reserve regularly train to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives threats.

Hawkins said repeated training creates muscle memory and builds confidence when it comes to using gear and confidence in your team.

“I am basically the doomsday disaster planner,” she said. “Yes, it’s hot and tiring but, I tell them it matters. When junk gets real you will be thankful you know how to put on your chemical gear.”

Once exercises are complete, the WIT compiles data from the inspections into a report that will detail Robin’s strengths, weaknesses and plans for improvement. This report will be viewed by Air Force leadership.

“Airmen may not appreciate it now and I hope they never have the opportunity to appreciate it in the future,” said Hawkins. “But we want to make sure we have done our part to make sure they are prepared. This is all about moving the Air Force forward and keeping them safe.”