February 12, 2013 11:42:04 AM
Carmen K. Sisson - [email protected]
After months of hard work, the men and women of Columbus Air Force Base were finally able to stand at ease Monday, enjoying a base-wide picnic and celebration following the conclusion of their biennial unit inspection.
Officials with the United States Air Force's Air Education and Training Command arrived last week, bringing 170 inspectors and team members to lead nine separate inspections over the course of the week.
The final report will be hundreds of pages long, but 14th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. Jim Sears said the base performed "extremely well," meeting standards in all graded areas.
Approximately 61,000 line items were examined in areas ranging from logistics and maintenance to health and safety, precision measurement and air traffic control.
The Consolidated Unit Inspection (CUI) is mandatory for all Air Force organizations to make certain they are in compliance with regulations and directives.
In addition to giving air base officials the chance to see their strengths, it also allows them to see where they might improve.
Sears said last week's inspection told him something he already knew: That CAFB is home to a premier flying training wing embraced by the community and dedicated to developing the world's greatest airmen.
The high marks are the result of a concerted effort by all 3,000 men and women on base, he said, adding that "an unquantifiable amount of work" went into the preparations.
"They were able to validate that they really do their job and they do it well," he said. "We'll take the results we got and learn what those things are that we can do to ensure we do the job better tomorrow, because in the end, that's what we are all about -- trying to make everything we touch better and doing it better tomorrow."
The next major project at CAFB will begin next month with the demolition and resurfacing of the center runway, which was built in 1958. The $31.1 million project is expected to continue through September, with planes using the runway at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport until the work is complete.
Carmen K. Sisson is the former news editor at The Dispatch.