01/30/07 — 4th Fighter Wing receives 'excellent' rating on ORI

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4th Fighter Wing receives 'excellent' rating on ORI

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on January 30, 2007 1:53 PM

It was report card day on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Monday, and like a proud parent, 4th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Steve Kwast addressed his airmen with a smile on his face.

The results from last week's Operational Readiness Inspection are in.

The wing's grade -- "Excellent."

"I am so deeply proud of all of you," Kwast said, adding the inspection proved to top Air Force officials what he already knew -- the airmen of the 4th demonstrate "deep competence as warriors for this nation."

The review, conducted by the Air Combat Command's Inspector General team, tested the wing in three major areas -- combat employment, mission support and the ability to survive and operate.

In short, officials wanted to make sure that in a wartime scenario, the wing could be counted on to complete its mission without a hitch.

Inspectors determined that the airmen were not only ready to go when called upon, they were the "best group inspected to date," Kwast said.

"Take this language and enjoy it," he said. "But don't let it go to your head. Stay humble, stay hard-working and stay hungry. And remember, these kinds of things do not happen without extraordinary preparation. So, take a moment to revel in your glory."

But Kwast's words of thanks were not the only reward for a job well done. Members of the wing were given today and next Monday off for their accomplishments, too.

"On Sunday, when you're watching the Super Bowl, since this was your Super Bowl, take heart in the fact that you won't have to come into work the next day," he said.

But after the celebration dies down, the mission will move forward, he added. Nobody should allow this victory to prevent them from continuing to push for even greater achievements.

"You are only as good as how well you deliver air power when this nation calls," Kwast said. "That's the hallmark of great American patriots. They are never satisfied with the status quo."

The wing will get its first opportunity to show off what the airmen practiced as early as this summer, when a large group of airmen are expected to deploy in support of the Global War on Terror.

But for now, the excellence and professionalism they showed last week is proof positive that the 4th Fighter Wing is, indeed, still first.

"You have set the bar so high," Kwast said. "Preparation met opportunity and you delivered."