Making the grade: Grissom rated effective following capstone

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Courtney Dotson-Essett
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

During a busy year of exercises ,inspections and mass deployments,  members of the 434th Air Refueling Wing rose to the occasion and were recently given a rating of ‘effective’ during its Unit Effectiveness Inspection Capstone.

This means the wing is effective in self identifying in four major graded areas: leading people, managing resources, improving the unit and executing the mission.

The UEI capstone was the culmination of a 30 month-long process led by the 434th ARW Inspection Team and the Inspector’s General’s office.

It’s part of a mandatory Air Force Inspection System that places responsibility on commanders to self-inspect their units to maximize effectiveness, efficiency and discipline.

The inspection process is relatively new, having been implemented in 2013.

Through a mixture of exercises, self-assessments and internal inspections – wing members are responsible for assessing their own deficiencies in their units, reporting them to the IG and then creating a plan to correct those deficiencies.

The program is intended to ensure that compliance is a daily mindset, that each Airman is a part of.

 “There’s no such thing as inspection prep,” said Senior Master Sgt. Zachary Chapin, 434th ARW inspector general superintendent.  “If we’re mission-ready, we should be inspection-ready.

“If we’re fully compliant, we should be moving forward, executing the mission. We should be ready to be inspected at any time because we should be in compliance,” he added.

The more effective a unit is at self-inspection, the longer it is pushed out into the cycle.

Grissom showed improvement and therefore will go from 30 to 36 months in its inspection cycle.

During Grissom’s most recent inspection, the IG office focused on top leadership’s priorities of improving readiness, promoting unit camaraderie, Airmen development and mission success.

It was a big but welcomed task.  

“These inspections make us a better unit,” said Col. Larry Shaw, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander. “When things are identified for improvement, we work to improve them. Taking that knowledge and implementing the course corrections will make us stronger.”

The UEI called upon participation, resources and at times, extended hours from all squadrons.

Air Force Reserve Command inspectors spoke with Airmen from various units across the base, inquiring on topics ranging from leadership to technology and resources.

Chapin said that feedback from the units is a critical part of self-identifying areas of improvement.

“The important part is that the commander knows where that risk is at,” said Chapin. “He knows where non-compliance or deficiencies are and he can manage resources to fix it them, according to the mission priorities.”

With an inspection rating of ‘effective,’ Grissom is on the right path.

“The big picture means we’re a low risk wing,” Chapin said. “We’re running a good program and detecting our own risks. So from a headquarters perspective, we’re low risk and they don’t need to come look at us as frequently as some of the other bases.”

The 434th ARW IGI office is currently looking for the best and the brightest to join their team.  Anyone interested in this unique career broadening opportunity can contact SMSgt Zachary Chapin at 765-688-3404 or

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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