On the road again--the life of a 52 FW Inspector

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Heather M. Norris
  • 52nd Fighter Wing
Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Peterson, 52nd Munitions Maintenance Group loading standardization superintendent, spends half of every month traveling to some of the various geographically separated units under the 52nd Fighter Wing.

Sergeant Peterson's current job description entails oversight for weapons safety and maintenance, weapons loading and support functions for the F-16 Fighting Falcon and Panavia Tornado PA-200 aircraft as well as training of established proficiency standards all while enforcing policy and technical direction to not only the Spangdahlem Airmen, but U.S. and NATO commanders.

"The role I fill is specific to my job, but a far departure from what I would normally be doing," Sergeant Peterson said. "I have different GSUs hundreds of miles apart to be concerned with. It's a lot different than being responsible for a section or flight under one roof."

Sergeant Peterson, selected by referral by senior leadership, makes up a one-man team that visits various GSUs monthly to conduct inspections on day-to-day mission activities and ensure compliance. According to Sergeant Peterson, the visits provide a first person look at daily activities and a feel for the pulse of the unit. It is comparable to quality assurance within any organization.

"Providing on-the-spot guidance goes a long way," Sergeant Peterson said. "I can offer assistance that steers the units in the right direction toward improving mission effectiveness and maintaining the high level of proficiency necessary to perform mission requirements."

According to Sergeant Peterson, the extensive inspection schedule requires constant monitoring. There are no less than three major inspections every 18 months.

"Our assistance is crucial to help keep the units focused and on track for the mission and to cope with what seems like a series of never-ending inspections," Sergeant Peterson said. "Self-inspections are useful, but we don't tend to be as objective with ourselves as a third party looking over our shoulder would. Ultimately, our goal is to prepare the units to pass inspections, and we need them to be open with us to be able to help."

Sergeant Peterson attributes attention to detail, having an open mind and patience, along with his previous work experience as key qualities necessary to perform his current job.

"Learning from my mistakes prepared me for this job," Sergeant Peterson said. "Every small detail gets scrutinized at some point in time. Air Force Instructions change frequently. We as a staff need to be aware and open to these changes so we can communicate them to the units and better help them do their job."

According to Sergeant Peterson what stands out the most while traveling between the various GSUs is how much they do things the same despite the distance between. Standardization across the board for all the units is policy.

"They are much slower paced as they don't have a flying mission, but that doesn't mean they aren't busy," Sergeant Peterson said. "A lot is demanded from the units--this requires continuous practice and exercises. "

According to Sergeant Peterson, the opportunity to do something unique in his career field is enjoyable and not something many Airmen experience.

"I work with more than 20 career fields at various different host nations," said Sergeant Peterson. "I have one of the best jobs my career field has to offer. There's a lot of paperwork, and nobody likes that, but it's a good job."