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8th FW hones readiness posture through inspection

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Emili Koonce
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The phrase “Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!” is synonymous with Wolf Pack for many who have served with the readiness-focused wing.

Geographically unique and vital to the defense of the Korean Peninsula, Kunsan AB embodies the ‘Fight Tonight’ mission through its consistent efforts to strengthen processes that would allow the base to control all domains of combat while simultaneously launching F-16 Fighting Falcons to deliver Airpower if ever called upon.

This week during Beverly Pack 23-3, Airmen of the Wolf Pack are showcasing their operational skills, honing basic and complex processes, to ensure their ability to defend the base, accept follow-on forces and take the fight north.

Overseeing and critiquing the Airmen’s efforts is the 8th Fighter Wing Inspector General who maintains the responsibility of planning, executing, and reporting wing exercise operations.

When planning these large-scale evaluations, the IG office leverages its wing inspection teams, a collection of subject matter experts from every squadron, to develop effective training scenarios that integrate units across the base toward their common goal.

“WITs help us plan the wing exercises by designing inject scenarios, evaluating unit performance, and reporting strengths and weaknesses,” said Lt. Col. Lance Tucker, 8th FW IG. “We do not have the subject matter expertise, time, or relationships to do everything ourselves and the WITs allow us to capture an accurate sight picture of the wing’s current readiness posture.”

Prior to the start of training events like Beverly Pack 23-3, the IG director of inspections along with WITs develop the master scenario event listing, a controlled document detailing the entire exercise. The MSEL’s contents are only known to IG and WIT members so they can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the entire Wolf Pack, including senior leaders and the base commander.

Once the MSEL is complete, IG and WIT members don’t just pull out their clipboards and silently observe how Airmen perform. They ensure exercise injects are ready by setting up equipment or role players at the proper locations, all while working long shifts and donning appropriate individual protective equipment for the current mission oriented protective posture.

“During the exercise, we are identifying any limiting factors or gaps in processes that impede an Airman’s ability to carry out the wing’s critical mission,” said Tucker. “One crucial area the wing tested this iteration was how to operate despite the loss of significant infrastructure such as computer networks, electricity and water distribution… ensuring that the Wolf Pack can overcome any obstacle an adversary may throw at us.”

Following the official announcement of “ENDEX”, which signifies the end of all training scenarios, the IG and WIT members take days’ worth of notes, analyze what went well and determine what processes could be improved.

“This process improvement is baked into the system,” said Tucker. “Pacific Air Forces IG grades us according to how accurately we inspect the wing to include how well we plan, execute, and report each exercise.”

Beverly Pack 23-3 and the multitude of exercises the wing conducts every year, call for Airmen to conduct 24-hour operations, demonstrate their proficiency in contingency operation execution and respond to training scenarios that challenge them both physically and mentally.

“The historian Flavius Josephus said this about the Roman Army: ‘their drills were bloodless battles; their battles were bloody drills,’” said Tucker. “It is my hope that Airmen feel tested but confident in their ability to accomplish their role in the wing’s mission and are ready to operate proficiently across the range of possible circumstances after Bev Pack 23-3.”