Inspection ready: Don't put lipstick on a pig

  • Published
  • By Maj. Douglas Shahan
  • 39th Communications Squadron commander
Have you ever heard the phrase, "Putting lipstick on a pig?" Quite the image comes to mind, doesn't it? 

The phrase is often used to refer to the process of preparing for an inspection and it isn't complimentary. It suggests that rather than fix the problem, you are just going to make a broken problem look pretty. For example, if there's a crack in the foundation, put a new coat of paint on it! 

Preparing for an inspection affords many opportunities to identify areas in need of major overhaul. It's not always easy to do the right thing. The alternative may be easy, but let's face it, that doesn't make it right. It really doesn't matter how you dress it up, a pig is still a pig. 

Many Airmen who had preceded us had a deployed mentality that has persisted here. I don't question the motives or the judgment of our predecessors. They made the best decisions they could based on the mission and the need to get the mission done. It probably didn't happen overnight and I'm sure it made sense at the time, but the end result is that sometimes corners were cut. Those cut corners may have stood out as an exception, but over time the exception became the norm. It reminds me of something I once heard: If you see a problem and don't fix it, you just lowered the standard. 

This wing is approximately 30 days from a critical inspection. The "Is" are being dotted, "Ts" are being crossed and procedures are being tightened. I am extremely impressed by the excellence on display as we prepare for the inspection. And I am especially impressed by those who have taken this opportunity to go beyond simply putting lipstick on the pig. Pride, professionalism and passion are on full display here and the men and women of the 39th Air Base Wing have done incredible work as we prepare for our out-of-town visitors. 

My challenge to you is simple: As we go into the last month of preparation for the inspection, if you know of a problem - directly related to the inspection or not - fix it. If you can't fix it, elevate it up the chain of command until you find someone who can. 

Incirlik has an incredible mission and superb men and women performing that mission. Your squadron, group and wing leadership is ready to support you in setting the highest standard of excellence. Thank you for the superb work you perform every day making Incirlik the premiere wing in the Air Force!