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Local Air Guard flying high after inspection

– Fort Wayne’s Air National Guard base received mostly high marks during an inspection conducted over the past several days by Air Force inspectors.

Master Sgt. Darin Hubble said Wednesday that the 122nd Fighter Wing was reviewed in four categories and received two “outstanding” ratings, one “excellent” and one “satisfactory” rating.

“We did well,” said Hubble, public affairs superintendent at the base.

He said the satisfactory rating was related to civil engineering but that shortcomings “have already been mostly rectified.”

“That’s the beauty of the inspection – the opportunity for us to grow and get better by having someone outside look at our processes,” he said.

Nearly 70 inspectors had been at the Ferguson Road base since April 11. They examined the fighter wing’s performance in the flying, maintenance, support and administration of its squadron of 20 combat jets. The 122nd Fighter Wing received praise Wednesday from the Air National Guard director during a Capitol Hill hearing of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.

“Col. (David) Augustine leads a great group of airmen there at Fort Wayne,” Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke told the Defense Subcommittee.

Clarke was responding to a question from Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., who wondered about prospects for replacing Fort Wayne’s A-10 jets with F-35 Joint Strike Fighters that are under development.

In video provided by Coats’ office, Clarke said the A-10 is “one of my personal favorites” and that he “grew up in the Air Force flying the A-10s. However, they’re getting old. They are legacy fighters.”

The Air Force has used A-10s since the 1970s. Clarke said replacing them and other combat planes with F-35s should be in “full flow” in 2020.

Bases will be chosen to fly F-35s according to many criteria, he said, including their location, existing facilities, environmental studies and personnel.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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