Back to Basics

  • Published
  • By Col. Russell A. Muncy
  • Commander, 459th Operations Group
The 459th Air Refueling Wing has gone through a great deal over the past two years. During that time, we have completed a conventional Operational Readiness Inspection, two Operations and maintenance Air Expeditionary Force deployments, numerous expeditionary combat support and aeromedical evacuation AEF deployments, a Health Services Inspection and a Nuclear Operational readiness inspection. While doing this, we experienced leadership changeovers at the wing and vice commander positions and in all three groups commander and deputy positions. In addition, the majority of the Squadrons throughout the wing experienced leadership changeovers. One thing has held true throughout this turbulent period: you, the men and women of the 459th ARW, have excelled in getting the mission accomplished! For that, we owe you a debt of gratitude. Thank you for what you have sacrificed and accomplished. It has been a truly amazing feat! 

I wish that I could stop there, but unfortunately everything hasn't come up roses for us. As you are aware, we recently experienced a Unit Compliance Inspection Staff Assistance Visit (as well as two HSI SAVs and a Logistics Compliance Inspection SAV. The results from these inspections indicate that we have a great deal of work to do in preparation for the actual UCI/HSI/Maintenance Standardization Evaluation Program Inspection to be conducted in June. 

Some may wonder why the programs that were inspected during these SAVs were in the state that they were discovered. I believe that one need only look at the first paragraph to understand how we got here. We have been so busy getting the mission accomplished that we haven't addressed some of the processes and "daily housekeeping" chores quite like we should have been doing. The result is that many of our programs are less than stellar. It would be nice if we could say that this is no big deal, after all, we're getting the mission done. It just doesn't work like that. These processes and daily chores that have fallen by the wayside are the very tasks that ensure we continue to accomplish our mission safely and effectively. A failure to address these areas could easily expand into our failure to accomplish the mission or worse - cause injury to a fellow warrior or damage to equipment. 

The true challenge now is to establish our way ahead. That way is to get back to basics. Whether we fly airplanes, turn wrenches, provide medical care, build buildings, secure the flightline or provide administrative support, each of us is vital to the effectiveness of the wing. Each of us must step back and take another look at how we go about our day to day business. Dust off those process guides, Operational Instructions and inspection checklists. Ensure that as you do your daily tasks that you are not only getting them done, but you are doing them the right way. 

The road ahead will not be an easy one. Compounding the problem is our severe lack of fulltime support due to the many ART vacancies throughout the Wing. We are fortunate though to have an extraordinarily professional and experienced group of personnel in this Wing. We have experienced and overcome a lot in the past two years. As a team, we can overcome the months ahead and the challenges we face in our preparation for the upcoming UCI. Times may become trying. All we ask is that you keep a positive outlook and do your best. I am truly confident that your best far exceeds the requirements. Together, we will pass the UCI. Best of luck in your preparations and be a good wingman by looking out for your buddy as you move forward!