Wing takes 'triple crown' of inspections
By Capt. Dale Greer, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Officer
/ Published August 09, 2008
KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The 123rd Airlift Wing scored a triple crown of sorts in June when it completed three higher-headquarters inspections by logging prestigious "excellent" ratings in each.
The wing successfully completed an Air Mobility Command Inspector General Unit Compliance Inspection, a U.S. Air Force Health Services Inspection and a Logistics Standardization Evaluation Team Inspection. The trio of evaluations rated the wing's overall program compliance, medical operations, and aircraft maintenance and logistics support, respectively.
The hat trick is especially noteworthy because it came in the midst of one the busiest times in the unit's 61-year history, said Col. Mark Kraus, wing commander.
"I could not be more proud of you for your record of accomplishments," Kraus told the wing's 1,200 members during a commander's call held in the Fuel Cell Hangar on June 8.
"With the schedule we've been keeping, we don't have time to stop and smell the roses, but we ought to slow down and get a whiff of them as we go by.
"If you will remember, it was just about this time last year that you -- the 123rd Airlift Wing -- were awarded the Curtis N. 'Rusty' Metcalf Trophy as the No. 1 airlift unit in the National Guard. From that time to this time, you have set about to validate that selection.
"Last summer, you deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, for AEFs 7 and 8 to work and fly combat missions in the most challenging environment in the world. We rolled off of that and, in November, you started a five-month-solid commitment to Germany to support Operation Joint Enterprise. You even picked up a shortfall rotation over the holidays, and you never missed a mission."
While Kentucky Airmen were maintaining their commitments abroad, they also stepped up back home, Colonel Kraus said, pledging more than $35,000 in charitable giving to the Combined Federal Campaign -- a 27 percent increase over the previous year's figure.
Meanwhile, the wing earned its 13th Air Force Outstanding Unit Award -- no other Air Guard unit has more -- and completed a successful Joint Forces Headquarters disaster-response exercise that tested the teamwork of the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard.
The wing also successfully completed an Environmental Safety and Occupational Health Compliance Assessment and attained the highest level of deployment readiness training in four years, averaging 98 percent for all training currencies across the wing.
"Then, you crossed all the T's, you dotted all the I's and turned in a remarkable performance during the HSI, the LSAT and the UCI, making excellence the word for the day," Colonel Kraus said.
"Before the ink was dry on the draft reports, we started deployments for Puerto Rico to again support Operation Coronet Oak."
Colonel Kraus noted that the wing has deployed more than half its personnel -- over 600 troops -- during the past 12 months to the farthest reaches of the globe in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, Joint Reach and Joint Enterprise.
"We even deployed folks to support a Space Shuttle launch," he said.
"In every instance, you've represented Kentucky and the Air National Guard in the finest tradition. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to the vision of this wing."
Kentucky's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, reflected on unit's legacy of excellence and noted that about 70 percent of the wing's current membership joined after 9/11.
"I can't begin to tell you people how proud I am -- especially those 70 percent of new faces since 9/11 -- that you have dedicated yourself to continuing that legacy of excellence," he said.
"There's no doubt in my mind that the legacy of excellence is alive and well and prospering today. Please keep up the great work."