By Airman 1st Class Jessica Green, 129th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 10, 2010
MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- The 129th Operations Group just wrapped up another inspection after the two-person team from Air Combat Command Headquarters conducted an aircrew standardization/evaluation visit March 22-26, awarding the 129th Rescue Wing with a rating of EXCELLENT.
During their time with the 129th, the ASEV inspectors evaluated the proficiency of the aircrews within the 129th, 130th and 131st Rescue Squadrons, ensuring their training programs and combat readiness was in accordance with ACC.
"The inspection happens almost every four years to determine our ability to evaluate, instruct and perform our assigned task," Lt. Col. Victor Teal, chief of standardization and evaluation for the 129th OG said. "They look specifically at our testing program, our evaluation program, our emergency procedures, aircrew exam scores, basic aircrew abilities, knowledge and experience."
These squadrons are always ready to complete their mission, however this inspection is an opportunity to review, update and improve all programs before, during and after the visit.
"This inspection is important to what we do because is reflects on our Airmanship and our professionalism," said Staff Sgt. Sean Pellaton, 129th RQS aerial gunner. "Being a Guard unit we're often looked at by active duty as a maybe a little bit weaker, but I think that being here and doing our mission allows us to prove that we can do this just as well, if not better, than everybody else."
The inspection is divided into two main scoring sections. The first half of the rating is based on the operations group commander's training programs within the standard/evaluation shop. This shop selects the highest experienced aircrew to work directly with the commander to ensure the programs are run in compliance with the standards, said Col. Mark Sheehy, 129th OG commander.
The second half of the scorecard is based on aircrew performance, which is comprised of check rides and academic testing.
"While performing a check ride, aircrews are flying a combat training sortie, there is an ASEV inspector examining every aspect of our rescue squadrons, the C-130's, HH-60's and the Guardian Angel's," Colonel Sheehy said. "Guardian Angels are the combat rescue officers and the pararescuemen that make up the 131st RQS. The 129th and 130th RQS consist of pilots, navigators, flight engineers, aerial gunners, maintainers and load masters."
"While on board the inspector is watching and listening to make sure that the aircrew is conducting their training in accordance with ACC standards, and the way they do that is through standard evaluation flight examiners," the colonel said.
A SEFE is the flight examiner that is assigned to the standard/evaluation shop contained by the 129th OG. There is a SEFE for each element of an aircrew, including pilots, navigators and engineers. SEFE's give check rides to individual aircrew members while ASEV inspectors on the flight ensuring that the sortie is ran correctly and evaluate the SEFE to ensure they are examining the individual correctly, all within ACC standards. Due to the short length of the inspection, and the large number of pilots at the 129th RQW, ACC their wants their ASEV inspectors to evaluate at least 33% of all pilots, however all SEFE's will be evaluated, Colonel Sheehy said.
"They want to make sure that when we are giving our check rides and our objectivity rides, we're not only in compliance with the ACC directives, but we're also meeting the operations group commanders intent, and the goals that he has set forth to meet the standardization and evaluation," said Senior Master Sgt. Jason Red, 129th Rescue Squadron aerial gunner superintendent and SEFE during the ASEV inspection. "We're ready to demonstrate to anybody that we do the job safely and this is why we're the best at what we do."
Due to multiple deployments to Afghanistan the 129th RQW was slightly behind the four year mark requiring a visit from ACC's inspection team. The last ASEV was conducted in May of 2005 where they also earned a rating of EXCELLENT.
"Our Airmen had just gotten back form deployment, were still in recuperation and needed time prepare," said Colonel Sheehy, "So we were granted a six month extension, where we conducted as many training rehearsal sorties that would mirror the sorties we'd be flying with the inspectors as we could."
During those six months aircrews also had to prepare for the academic portion of the ASEV. Every aircrew member had to take a closed book test about precise knowledge of their job including, mission familiarity, emergency systems awareness and procedures understanding.
"ACC states that active duty Airmen, guardsmen and reservists need the same knowledge and flying requirements to complete our missions," Colonel Sheehy said. "In that regard, we ask a lot of our traditionals, especially over the last few months in preparation for this inspection. This is a lot of knowledge to have while also maintaining a full time job. They've done outstanding."
According to Lt. Col. Steven Butow, deputy commander of the 129th Operations Group, the ACC ASEV team chief stated the overall assessment of the 129th OG standardization and evaluation program was an excellent program for administering the standardization and evaluation elements to validate mission readiness and the effectiveness of unit flying and employment.
At the conclusion of the ASEV out brief the following Airmen were named as superior performers during the inspection:
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Waldman, 130th RQS recon pilot
Lt. Col. Victor Teal, 129th OG chief of standardization and evaluation
Maj. Thomas Roberts, 129th OG helicopter pilot
Capt. Damon Foss, 131st RQS combat rescue officer
Chief Master Sgt. David Dunlap, 130th RQS chief flight engineer
Senior Master Sgt. William Wunderlin, 129th OG aircraft load master supervisor
Senior Master Sgt. Eric Degner, 131st RQS pararescueman
Based on the ASEV five tier rating system, OUTSTANDING, EXCELLENT, SATISFACTORY, MARGINAL and UNSATISFACTORY, the following were rated as model programs in ACC with an OUTSTANDING rating:
- Operations Supervisor Program
- No Notice Evaluation Program
- Guardian Angel Program
- 129th RQS Aircrew Testing (Average Score: 99.2%)
- 130th RQS Aircrew Testing (Average Score: 99.1%)
- 131st RQS General Knowledge Testing (Average Score: 99.4%)
- 131st RQS Physical Fitness Testing (Score: 572 - one of the highest scores in USAF Guardian Angel)