Inspection tips from a former exercise IG inspector

  • Published
  • By Maj. Garon Shelton
  • 92nd Security Forces Squadron Commander
As we look forward to the busy exercise schedule ahead, inspections, and an air show later this summer, we all need to take a look within, and if we have not already dedicated ourselves to strive for nothing less than outstanding performance, we are already behind the power curve.

With our upcoming inspection, let me share some tips I picked up during my previous assignment with the Pacific Air Forces inspector general as the chief of security forces inspections. During that time I saw the good, the bad and the impressive. One thing always caught my eye during an inspection, Airmen taking the initiative and not merely reacting to the exercise. We all know our jobs and if we simply do them than we are satisfactory. We can do everything right and still be rated satisfactory. It is what we do above and beyond the stated requirements that will get us the higher ratings.

Take the initiative. Don't wait for someone to do it for you, go out there and make things happen. Initiative is an indispensible character trait no matter what job you are in. If you see something wrong, fix it. If you see a way a process can be improved, improve it. You will make your life and the lives of your fellow Airmen easier in the long run if you take the initiative and do the extra work now.

Along with initiative, you need follow through. What is the point of expending a lot of time and effort, if a month or two down the road you let things slide? If you are going to take the initiative, you need to have the fortitude and dedication to see it through.

Attitude is everything. When I walked into a squadron and was greeted by everyone I and saw they had upbeat, positive attitudes, I would think to myself "this unit is ready."

Conversely, when I walked into a squadron and no one would make eye contact, they milled around with no sense of urgency and their hearts just weren't in it, I would think "this is going to be a long inspection." Overwhelmingly, the ratings were far more favorable for the units that had positive, enthusiastic attitudes throughout. Remember, attitude, both good and bad, is infectious, make sure you aren't the one infecting your unit with a bad one.

Another thing I learned is not to over think it. Don't do what "you think" the IG wants see, do your job the way you have been trained and the way the regulations spell it out. I have seen more than one unit stumble because they were trying to "play the ORI game" instead of just doing what they knew they needed to do. The IG is not trying to trick you.
Analyze the information presented and press on with what needs to be done.

Finally, and I am sure that we have all heard this at some point in our lives, say it with me now, "if you are going to do something, do it right the first time." I would venture to guess that we have all attempted to take the easy way out at some point, thinking it would save us time and energy. Then, we find ourselves later needing to go back and spend twice the amount of time and energy to correct our mistakes after trying to take the shortcut. Don't fall into this trap. When you attack a task, do it right from the beginning and you are almost assured to spend less time correcting mistakes than if you try to take the easy way out.

These simple principles apply not only to inspections but to all aspects of both our work and home lives and if followed can greatly enhance our satisfaction with both.