148th Prepares for Readiness Inspection Despite Furlough

By KBJR News 1

July 19, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2013 at 10:17 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth is gearing up to put their skills and expertise to the test. But even with sequester-related furlough's forcing the base to scale back, the unit says that won't stop them from reaching new heights.

The 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth is preparing for just about anything that comes their way.

The unit is undergoing a rigorous exercise that not only tests their endurance, but readiness for future missions.

"The readiness inspection is testing our ability to survive and operate in theater," said Major Julie Grandaw, 148th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Officer.

The simulated training comes just one month before their skills will be put to the test by the Inspector General.

"This readiness inspection that's coming up is just showing on the line that we are an outstanding unit and can perform it and we're going to do an outstanding job doing it," said Grandaw.

But the decorated division is facing a furlough during this year's inspection, cutting their full-time force in half for eleven weeks.

The inspection comes right in the middle of that period.

"They're absolutely going to be impacted by it, to what degree, is yet to be determined and I think this is an unprecedented furlough, we've never done it before we don't know how great the impact is, but apparently the government is willing to take that risk," said Army Lt., Col., Jon Lovald, Minnesota National Guard Human Resource Officer.

But 148th officials say they are confident in their ability to perform, and furlough or not they will be ready to show they are the best of the best.

"The 148th fighter wing has the best trained personnel in the entire air force or I would say in the world, we are prepared and trained to go," said Grandaw.

And whether they're called to duty or put to the test, they say they'll pass with flying colors.

The 148th received an outstanding unit award for their last inspection back in 2009.

The sequester-related furlough now in effect, will last until at least September 23rd.

Jeremy Brickley