April 21, 2005
By Chap. (Maj.) Edward Moran
SANDSTON, Va. -- If the purpose of the Virginia National Guard is to support the cause of freedom by serving our communities, commonwealth and country, the 192nd Fighter Wing has shown itself ready, willing and able. The result of their recent Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) Mar. 17-23, 2005, was a grade of 'Excellent'. From assessed areas of Fit to Fight, Retention/Recruiting, management of the Student Flight, Family Program Office, Community Support and the Chief's Group, the ACC inspectors complimented the unit for its 'extremely sharp military image' and exemplification of the 'proud standards and tradition of the Air National Guard'.
Chief Master Sgt Thomas Dikon, Superintendent of the ACC/IG Team noted in his report that the 192nd "involved senior leadership at every level with a renewed focus on war fighting and readiness, coupled with a genuine concern for the discipline and wellness of the total force".
Colonel Pete Bonanni, commander of the 192nd, was especially pleased with the results. In noting that there has not been any unit in the ACC (Guard, Reserve or Active) since 2001 to be graded an Excellent, he focused on the road to that success. In his written comments to the unit, he said that "it was the leadership of the commanders and senior NCO's during many of the Operational Readiness Exercises (OREs) that paved the way".
From July, August and September of 2004 into January and culminating in a 12 hour March drill ORE, both the practice and the lessons learned contributed significantly in identifying and strengthening critical areas of operation to be graded. It was the ability to recognize, adapt and overcome the myriad of obstacles both planned and unplanned that played such a role in the overall outcome.
Major David Biggs, who directed the Deployment Control Center, Cargo Function, Personnel Function, and Vehicle Operations praised his teams for their hard work and great marks. He pointed to their persistence, hard work and patience that paved the road to success despite the challenges along the way.
Coupled with a deep sense of military tradition, pride and competence that permeated the entire wing from the months of exercises, the 192nd's enthusiastic attitude carried the days of evaluation. While the Total Force's dedication to the war on terrorism was the overall context for the performance, it was the friendship and experience of working together, being for each other in what veterans call 'the brotherhood of arms' that kept motivation alive in prolonged ways during the trying months of preparation.
From Cargo Loading, In-Check JI, Weapons Loading, MOBAG, PDF, MRSP, Munitions, Operations Generation Acceptance to Weapons Loading, Maintenance Operations, Operations Regeneration Acceptance, Emergency Actions and Munitions Assembly Conveyer, these superior performance teams led the way. These standout heroes showed on the individual as well as the team level how deep was the dedication to the Air Force core value of 'excellence in all we do'.
Bonanni remarked that ORIs "burn a brand on both individuals and organizations…lasting a very long time". The rating of Excellent should provide the kind of successful momentum that will carry the 192nd well into its projected transition to Langley AFB and participation in flying the newest fighter in the Air Force's inventory, the F-22.