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On the Road Again

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. John Healy

In January, I visited the Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 477th Fighter Group at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska. As a classic associate unit, the 477th is critical to executing the fifth-generation fighter mission at JBER and in the INDOPACOM theater. We provide significant strategic depth by retaining the most experienced F-22 pilots in the Total Force.

These pilots average more than 1,200 flight hours in the F-22 alone, compared to their active component counterparts’ 400 hours. Additionally, every pilot is mission-commander and instructor-pilot qualified, providing vital operational and instructional capacity to our active component counterparts. The cumulative F-22 flying experience of the pilots of the 302nd Fighter Squadron has a replacement value of $1.1 billion. In addition to retaining significant flying experience, our Reserve maintainers provide a stable base of deep experience to mentor maintainers from across the Total Force.

The 477th exemplifies our strategic priority of Ready Now! as they have demonstrated their ability to fill critical caps in fifth-generation capacity generation while also training our Total Force partners across JBER. This visit also better prepared me to advocate for the Air Force Reserve’s role in providing strategic depth the next week at the Combat Air Forces Weapons and Tactics Conference at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

While at Nellis, I was able to visit the 926th Wing and engage with Airmen executing one of the most diverse mission portfolios in the Air Force Reserve. The 926th is a focal point for making progress toward the Secretary of the Air Force’s operational imperatives. Its space aggressor mission is helping to get after assuring resilient space systems, while its operational test and evaluation work force is paving the way for tactical air dominance. In addition to being at the vanguard of our second strategic priority, Transforming for the Future, Reserve Citizen Airmen at the 926th are critical to maintaining our enduring remotely piloted aircraft mission.

JBER and Nellis were great places to kick off the 2023 Air Force Reserve Command Road Show – my attempt to visit as many Reserve units as I can over the next 12 months. The purpose of the road show is two-fold. First, I want to recognize the indispensable things each of you are doing every day to ensure we have the Air Force Reserve the nation needs. Second, I want candid feedback on whether Headquarters AFRC is meeting its TASKORD obligations to provide the resources necessary to ensure your unit is ready to fly, fight and win.

As always, I am both honored and proud to serve with each of you, and I look forward to seeing many of you at a road show stop in 2023.