10/31/10 — Seymour Johnson completes inspection

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Seymour Johnson completes inspection

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 31, 2010 1:50 AM

Members of the 4th Fighter Wing earned a "Satisfactory" rating for their performance during a four-day Operational Readiness Inspection conducted by Air Combat Command officials earlier this week on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, but the unit's commander contends their score was nothing short of a major victory.

Col. Patrick Doherty said Friday that after a "tough" start, the men and women under his command displayed a "perseverance and tenacity" that ultimately led inspectors to declare the wing combat ready.

"This is the sweetest victory I have ever seen in my career," he said. "They are very proud of what they accomplished -- coming from behind to get the win."

A Phase I ORI is designed to test a wing's ability to "get us out of town in a very rapid fashion," when deployment orders come down, Doherty said.

And despite the fact that more than 700 members of the 4th successfully made it from Seymour Johnson to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in August, meeting the standards set by inspectors is far more difficult to achieve.

"A Phase I is the ultimate white-glove inspection," Doherty said. "It is postured very well to be looked at very critically."

So even though the 4th did not receive an "Excellent" or "Outstanding" for its effort this week -- in 2007, the wing earned an "Excellent" rating during a Phase II ORI -- its commander said the Wayne County community should be proud of the standard achieved over the past several days by those airmen who call it home.

"I am extremely proud of this team," he said. "The entire community should be very proud."

And those who do not wear the uniform should realize that the word satisfactory simply doesn't do those airmen -- or their performance -- justice, the colonel added.

"I cannot think of another ACC combat fighter wing that has gotten anything better than a satisfactory," Doherty said. "So this was a significant victory that the airmen feel very, very proud of."

As do he and his superiors.

"They just confirmed what we knew: that the 4th Fighter Wing is combat ready," Doherty said.