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UCI Inspection Caps Busy Fiscal Year 2010 for Kingsley

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson
  • 173rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Members of the 173rd Fighter Wing ushered out Fiscal Year 2010 with a base-wide celebration at Trappers Dining Facility, Oct. 1. The year presented a number of challenges to the wing, most recently the Unit Compliance Inspection conducted Sept. 13-19. After preparing for the inspection the wing received a rating of excellent.

"We are only the second unit to achieve this rating under the new criteria," said Col. James Miller, the 173rd Fighter Wing Commander. "All of our Airman should be very proud of their accomplishments."

The inspection capped a series of extraordinary events spanning the last two years beginning with the deployment of the wing to Boise, Idaho, the completion of a project to upgrade the engines of our entire fleet of F-15s and, of course, assuming the role of sole provider of formal F-15 training for the U.S. Air Force.

"This has been an historic time for the 173rd Fighter Wing," said Miller before referencing one significant part of that history, a program commonly referred to as "iron flow". The recently completed program undertaken by 173rd Maintenance Group personnel upgraded 14 aircraft to newer, more responsive engines and accepted 19 aircraft from active duty.

For some the hardest part of this project was rooted in nostalgia.

"Letting the jet go," nodded dedicated crew chief, Master Sgt. Sean Campbell with lips pursed. "Most of us have been assigned to those jets for a decade, at least 5-10 years, there's a lot of pride and hard work tied up in those jets."

It's all part of a larger picture as Kingsley gracefully steps into the role of sole provider of formal F-15C training for the entire U.S. Air Force.

This year alone the wing flew more than 4,000 hours in keeping with the 173rd Fighter Wing's mission statement of training the best air-to-air combat pilots.

Looking forward from here Miller states, "our vision is to continue as a center of excellence for the F-15C training mission while continuing to posture ourselves for future missions. Continuing to do well in inspections and fostering great relationships with our Headquarters and the Guard Bureau as well recruiting outstanding Airman are positive steps for our future."

He goes on to sound one note of caution, however, saying, "this may have been the last fiscal year for some time to come that we can expect any relief from guard bureau. If what we see in cuts to our civilian pay and base operating cost, then forecasts for leaner years are definitely coming true. We cannot count on resources, outside of what we are given, to accomplish our mission. This means less temporary employees and less training opportunities to help develop our Airmen."

But for the first of October such thoughts were put aside and members gathered together for a barbecue and volleyball.