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News | Jan. 12, 2009

McChord earns top marks in critical inspection

By Tech. Sgt. Oshawn Jefferson 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

McCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Air Force officials gave the 62nd Airlift Wing the highest-possible grade today following a week-long inspection of the wing's role as the nation's Primary Nuclear Airlift Force.

"These results underscore our commitment to the American people in our ability to conduct our number one no-fail mission," said Col. Jeffrey Stephenson, 62nd AW commander. "No mission is more important than safeguarding our vital nuclear capabilities and maintaining nuclear deterrence. These scores represent our Airmen's hard work and pride in their mission, as well as Air Mobility Command's focus on enhancing its support to the nuclear enterprise. "

Airmen evaluated in the final phase of a Defense Nuclear Surety Inspection here Jan. 7 through today received an overall grade of "Satisfactory" -- the highest possible overall grade given -- by AMC's Inspector General team. The AMC IG was accompanied by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Air Force Inspection Agency, with observation by U.S. Strategic Command.

"The 62nd AW has a history of excellence with the security and readiness inherent in its nuclear surety program," said Col. Jerry Martinez, AMC Inspector General. "AMC continues to maintain the highest standards for nuclear safety. The command's unfaltering, all-encompassing commitment to the nuclear mission provides the foundation for success. "

The nuclear surety program management and administration area examined leadership's involvement in the program and wing safety. The Personnel Reliability Program area focused on the 62nd Medical Squadron, the 4th Airlift Squadron and the 62nd Force Support Squadron. The 62nd Aerial Port Squadron's procedures and equipment, along with the 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron movement area were also inspected. The areas are directly linked to the 4th AS's ability to conduct missions. The 62nd Maintenance Group's role in selecting and preparing C-17s and the 62nd AW command post's role in monitoring mission movements were also evaluated.

"As the Air Force's Primary Nuclear Airlift Force, McChord Airmen perform duties associated with this crucial mission while maintaining the highest possible standards of individual reliability and professional competence," said Tom Thompson, 62nd AW nuclear surety manager. "We had to show we have every piece of the PNAF puzzle fitting perfectly into place so we can safely and skillfully execute the PNAF mission and successfully demonstrate our Nuclear Surety Program. We proved we have the pieces in place and are always ready. "

That same sentiment was echoed during the inspection out-brief by Maj. Jeffrey Meyers, 4th AS PNAF Flight commander. The 4th AS plans and executes all PNAF missions.

"It's nice to be recognized for doing a good job," said Maj. Meyers. "As the PNAF unit in the Air Force, it is a responsibility the wing and the nuclear surety office take very seriously. Wing leadership has made it clear: perfection is the standard. "

Major Meyers not only praised each unit involved in the inspection, but also the 4th AS team who assisted with mission planning and management.

"It feels good to show our leaders that they can rely on us to be good stewards of our number one no-fail mission," Staff Sgt. T. Francis Johnson, 4th AS C-17 Globemaster III PNAF evaluator loadmaster. "We all take this mission to heart and we know how important it is and we will continue to maintain its high standards. "