Commentary Search

Mighty Ninety goes undefeated in inspections

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Tims
  • 90th Missile Wing commander
So I ask, what will they say about the 90th Missile Wing, 10, 50, or even 500 years from now? Col. Scott Fox, 90th Missile Wing vice commander, and I were reminiscing the other day and he stated that he believed a reputation was something you earn and a legacy was something you leave when you are gone. I like that characterization. So, I'd like to take a trip down memory lane that will frame both of these concepts with regards to the 90th MW. The focus will be on the 12 major inspections we have conquered.

The first inspection back in August of 2009, was the Communications Security Inspection. I have been through these before and I've seen some bloody ones. They called us the best in Air Force Space Command as they walked out the door. The next one requires a little explanation: the dreaded Health Services Inspection rolled in during October 2009. An HSI occurs every 3 years. Two months before I got here, there was an officer overheard saying in a meeting that they believed we were going to fail this inspection and they were glad to be moving in two months so they would not be here for it. When I heard about this comment after I arrived, I was seriously considering conducting a commander-directed investigation. How could someone in a leadership role know there was a problem and not take immediate corrective actions? Col. Francesca Vasta-Falldorf, 90th Medical Group commander, had just taken the flag in July and she and I quickly got together. She laid out the plan on how the 90th MDG would attack this problem. More importantly, she laid out a plan for long-term sustainment of daily excellence. We nailed this inspection and I believe this was a huge turning point for the wing. From that moment forward, we set up a strategic plan that would focus on daily excellence and not inspection preparation.

In December 2009 we had our 20th Air Force Combat Capability Evaluation and before they had wrapped up, Air Force Global Strike Command's No-Notice Limited Nuclear Inspection landed on this base. We hit both of these inspections out of the park. Then, in January 2010, the AFGSC Nuclear Surety Inspection/Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection/Operational Readiness Inspection kicked off. We not only did well, but our reputation as the Mighty Ninety was solidified. I believe this was another critical and key moment for the wing. This inspection started to separate us from the pack. An AFGSC Health Services Bio inspection was next and we walked away with many kudos. In October 2010, AFGSC's Safety Inspection rolled in. If you have not been through a major safety inspection before, let me tell you they do not leave one square inch of a base untouched. Everything gets scrutinized with a very intense safety look. One of the greatest compliments an evaluation team can pay to a wing is to take products they deem superior with them, and they took many with them as they departed while they garnered us with several "Best Practices."

The Eighth major event and the final one for 2010 was the AFGSC Nuclear Surety Staff Assisted Visit. While this was characterized as a SAV, it too was intense. We did really well and our policies and practices were lauded for their focus on ensuring our daily operations were conducted in a safe, secure and reliable manner.

To start the new year off right, 20th AF gave us their second CCE and in conjunction, AFGSC provided us a Logistics Compliance Assessment Program. Both inspections tested our mettle, and both inspections were successfully completed. The next month was our 11th major examination. It was the AFGSC Limited Nuclear Surety Inspection. As expected, we did extremely well. Our final report card came at the beginning of this month--the AFGSC Nuclear Surety Inspection. While we don't discuss specific ratings, I will tell you we not only finished up 12 for 12, but we were lauded for being a professional and highly capable nuclear combat unit.

There is not another wing that has done what we have these past two years. When you add all the awards this base has won to include numerous 20th AF, AFGSC, AF, DoD-level honors, to include winning the Blanchard and Williams trophy, it starts to become mind boggling. I have not seen or been a part of these types of results in my 25-plus years of wearing the Air Force Uniform.

So I ask, what will they say about the 90th Missile Wing, 10, 20, or even 500 years from now? The reputation that you have earned is one of a hard-nosed unit. You never ran from a problem, or foe. You fought with courage and discipline. You sought out problems and corrected them. You were grounded in your character and toughness. You did not settle for "good enough." You focused on one task at a time. You not only accomplished the task at hand, you did it very well. Daily excellence was key. You were indeed ready to fight anytime, anywhere. And yes, you showed the world you provide preeminent combat capability across the spectrum of conflict. Like we have said many times around here: It ain't braggin', if you can do it!

The legacy you leave is simply this: You rose to each and every challenge and became the best and most capable, lethal combat nuclear unit the world has ever seen. And you did it with a blue collar swagger!

Go Forth and Conquer!