By Staff Sgt. Amanda Currier, 9th Air Force Public Affairs
/ Published March 11, 2013
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 495th Fighter Group stood up during an activation ceremony here March 8.
The group's activation is part of the Air Force's ongoing initiative to integrate traditional, active-duty Airmen with Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units to streamline training and resource use. Such integrated units are called active associate units.
The 495th Fighter Group, headquartered here, is responsible for guiding 10 active associate, 9th Air Force-affiliated fighter detachments located at host Guard and Reserve units across the country. These units pair traditional active-duty fighter pilots and aircraft maintainers with their Guard and Reserve counterparts to generate efficiency and cost savings by sharing resources and reducing duplication of efforts.
"My job is to make sure the active-duty Airmen and their families assigned to these locations are taken care of" said Lt. Col. Juris Jansons, who took command of the 495th Fighter Group during the activation ceremony.
Prior to the activation ceremony, five of 495th Fighter Group's 10 detachments were already established. Four units flying F-16s in South Carolina, Vermont, Florida and Texas, reported to the 20th Operations Group here. The fifth detachment, flying A-10s in Missouri, reported to the 23rd Operations Group at Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
"The significance of today's event is that it marks, for the first time, the transfer of administrative control for these active associate detachments to one commander - Colonel Jansons," said 9th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen Lawrence Wells, who presided over the ceremony. "In the near future, we will double the number of detachments in his command to 10, when we are joined by detachments located in Colorado, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Alabama."
Five years ago, Air Force leaders recognized a changing force structure and budget constraints demanded creative ways to generate experienced fighter pilots. Their solution was to leverage the Guard's and Reserve's experience, continuity and assets through an initiative called Total Force Integration.
"The Air Force created the TFI initiative that assigned active-duty service members to Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units; we did this to make use of the vast experience already resident in those units - for both operational flying missions and maintenance training. History will show that this will prove to be a mutually beneficial relationship."
The 495th Fighter Group's legacy dates back to Work War II to the 495th Fighter Training Group, established in England on Oct. 9, 1943. Then, the group flew and maintained the P-47 Thunderbolt. After World War II, the 495th Fighter Training Group was disbanded April 15, 1945, due to the end of fighting in the European theater.
"Just like a Phoenix rising from its ashes, today the 495th Fighter Group rises again, proudly displaying its World War II heritage and taking on a mission our Air Force so desperately needs," General Wells said.
"We are focusing on that next generation of warrior leaders who are going to champion this TFI endeavor. That will be the legacy of this group," said Colonel Jansons, a command pilot with more than 2,000 flying hours in the F-16.
Currently established 495th Fighter Group detachments
· Detachment 93, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla. (Air Force Reserve Command)
· Detachment 134, Burlington International Airport, Vt. (Air National Guard)
· Detachment 157, McEntire Joint National Guard Base , S.C. (ANG)
· Detachment 303, Whiteman Air Force Base, Miss. (AFRC)
· Detachment 457, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas (AFRC)
495th Fighter Group detachments in the process of being created
· Detachment 100, Dannelly Field, Ala. (ANG)
· Detachment 120, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. (ANG)
· Detachment 175, Joe Foss Field, S.D. (ANG)
· Detachment 176, Dane County Regional Airport, Wis. (ANG)