Swanton, Ohio --
Ensuring a wing can achieve and maintain wartime readiness and compliance with higher-headquarters regulations while also being charged with supporting the unique needs of more than 1,000 Airmen is no easy task.
For the five-person Inspector General team assigned to the Ohio National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing, these tasks have become a passion on which the 180FW’s foundation of success is built.
The passion and commitment of 180FW IG team, not only ensures the continued success of the 180FW, but also earned the title of one of the top IG offices in the U.S. Air Force and Air national Guard in 2019.
The U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. John P. Flynn Inspector General Award is awarded to the IG team whose wing-level Complaints and Resolutions Program most demonstrates six fundamental leadership characteristics, including integrity, justice, compassion, loyalty, courage and spirit.
The complaints and resolution program, led by Lt. Col. Jennifer Beale, is dedicated to solving unique complaints and issues from across the wing that have potential to degrade the mission. Complaints are investigated and resolved at the lowest levels while monitoring activities and ensuring reprisal and military whistleblower protection for Airmen.
The director of the program is also responsible for training and education of wing leadership and Airmen on program procedures and resources, investigating fraud waste and abuse concerns, and responding to congressional inquiries.
In an effort to ensure the complaints and resolutions program best meets the needs of the wing, Beale has forged partnerships with base agencies, off base services and IG offices across the Ohio Air National Guard to share best practices and has also sought out additional training opportunities for her team, better preparing team members to assist Airmen in crisis.
As the training provided a wealth of information to the team, Beale coordinated to bring two courses to the wing, one offering training sessions for Airmen interested in reducing stress and balancing work life responsibilities and another to provide tools to Airmen to help others during traumatic events.
“Anytime you take an Air Force-level award, for many people, that’s not something many people will see in their career,” said Col. Kristin McCoy, Command Inspector General, Ohio National Guard. “For this team to not only earn an Air Force-level award for the complaints and resolution program, but also an Air National Guard-level award for the inspection program, within the same unit, that’s great work. We’re here to make organizations better and that’s what this team is doing.”
The Air National Guard’s Maj. Gen. Junius W. Jones Inspector General Award recognizes the ANG’s best wing-level Commander’s Inspection Program, highlighting performance and program execution, above and beyond day-to-day mission requirements.
The Commander’s Inspection Program team is responsible for the management, planning and execution of the Commanders Inspection Program, referred to as CCIP. The team coordinates all base-wide inspections and exercises with both internal and external military organizations, and outside, partner organizations, such as local law enforcement, county emergency management and health departments, when needed, to enhance training and readiness.
Maintaining critical mission readiness across the force, the CCIP program utilizes internal and external subject matter experts to coordinate, plan, execute and evaluate realistic exercise scenarios across the gamut of skillsets within the wing.
The CCIP program is also charged with the management and oversight of the 180FW’s self-assessment program by working with unit self-assessment program managers to facilitate squadron commanders’ unit self-assessment programs.
Director of Inspections, Maj. Justin Kreischer, manages the CCIP program ensuring critical operational, mission and security requirements are met, and that potentially mission-degradation discrepancies are corrected.
Kreischer’s primary responsibilities include the development of policy, procedures, planning and execution of the U.S. Air Force Inspection System by directing and implementing IG inspection activities in support of the Commander’s Inspection Program.
Throughout 2019, Kreischer and his team worked with various base, local, state and federal agencies to carry out various exercises to ensure 180FW personnel were ready to meet any threat, emergency or challenge. Because of this, Air Combat Command, the 180 FW Major Command and Higher Headquarters, lauded the 180FW Inspection team for the complexity of their exercises during the wing’s 2019 Unit Effectiveness Inspection.
Wing Inspector General, Lt. Col. James Spanbauer, who oversees all 180FW IG programs and team members, tributes the team’s success to not only to their ability to meet local and higher-headquarters requirements, but also for their willingness to continuously improve programs and support to the wing by regularly collaborating with IG teams from across the ANG.
“We use a system of collaboration within our small office and try to take advantage of the experience we have,” said Spanbauer. “We work very well together and have pursued additional training to enhance interoperability within the programs we manage. Additionally, we work closely with IG teams in the surrounding states, to share ideas and best practices, enabling us to better solve problems and enhance our programs,” Spanbauer said.
Spanbauer went on to say “The majority of this collaboration is carried out by our two senior non-commissioned officers, Senior Master Sgt. Bill Lowinski, our IG superintendent and Master Sgt. Lauren Anderson, our inspections coordinator. They have built strong relationships with our squadron self-assessment managers, subject matter experts across the 180FW, ANG, and fellow IG professionals across the Air Force. They truly deserve most of the credit for our strong program.”
“Collaboration is how we’re doing business these days, and the purpose is to improve,” said Brig. Gen. James Camp, Assistant Adjutant General-Air. “This team is collaborating and continually improving the organization.”
The 180FW IG team members who directly contributed to earning these prestigious awards include, Lt. Col. James Spanbauer, wing inspector general; Lt. Col. Jennifer Beale, director of the wing complaints and resolution program; Maj. Justin Kreischer, director of the commander’s inspection program; Senior Master Sgt. Ann McCormick, former inspector general superintendent, who retired in early 2020; Senior Master Sgt. William Lowinski, inspector general superintendent; and Master Sgt. Lauren Anderson, inspection coordinator.