by Ross Tweten
482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1/23/2013 - HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. -- The
top enlisted member of Air Combat Command got a first-hand look at how
active duty Airmen are integrating with the 482nd Fighter Wing here Jan.
14 and 15.
Command Chief Master Sgt. Richard A. Parsons' two-day trip focused on
addressing the challenges and successes of Homestead ARB's Total Force
The concept of TFI is to integrate active duty Airmen with their guard
and reserve counterparts, just as guard and reserve Airmen have been
serving with various active duty units throughout the Air Force for many
years. The goal of TFI is to enhance the Air Force's ability to conduct
its mission through the sharing of resources, to include aircraft,
crews, maintenance, and support, between active duty and the air reserve
"We are very enthusiastic about the chief's visit because we want to
showcase the success we've had here at Homestead," said Lt. Col. Scott
Walker, commander of Detachment 2, 20th Operations Group. "The 482nd FW
has been an unbelievable host and made the transition of active duty and
reserve Airmen a seamless process."
Given the success of Detachment 2's integration at Homestead ARB, the
ultimate goal of TFI, and the chief's visit, is to tackle issues that,
when solved, will make the integration even better. Underpinning issues
addressed during Parsons' visit were support challenges active duty
Airmen do not normally encounter at a typical active duty base.
"This is an opportunity for both Detachment 2 and the 482nd FW to
address those challenges so the chief can take them back to Air Combat
Command, and with Air Force Reserve Command's help, we can work on
finding solutions that benefits us all."
During his stay, Parsons held an enlisted call with Detachment 2 Airmen,
met with 482nd FW leadership and groups of Airmen throughout the wing,
and attended a dedicated crew chief ceremony. The dedicated crew chief
ceremony was especially poignant as it's the first assignment of an
active duty crew chief to an F-16 at Homestead ARB since Hurricane
Parsons stressed both the current and future challenges the Air Force is facing.
"One of the biggest challenges the Air Force is facing is our fiscal
crisis," said Parsons. "Priorities have to be reevaluated. We have fewer
people and fewer dollars. We need the very best people operating at
their most efficient. So if you look around and you don't see others
doing their best, tell them to step it up or step out."
The challenges of fewer people and dollars cut to the core of TFI. In
part, TFI is a cost-saving measure, and according to Walker, Parsons can
take the challenges and successes of Homestead ARB's TFI back to Gen.
Mike Hostage, ACC commander, to then report up to the Chief of Staff of
the Air Force.
Here at Homestead ARB, Detachment 2, 20th OG, is an active associate
organization much like the classic associations already in place at
active duty bases, just in reverse. Detachment 2 is operationally
controlled to various units within the 482nd Fighter Wing but reports
directly to the 20th OG located at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Detachment 2
continues to grow rapidly and will ultimately consist of approximately
170 Airmen across 19 different operations and maintenance specialties.
As the mission of Detachment 2 progresses and Airmen continue to arrive,
the Airmen of both Detachment 2 and the 482nd FW continue to strive to
fulfill the TFI vision of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
"Since we've started receiving the bulk of our personnel, the mission
has progressed by leaps and bounds," said Walker. "We are currently
ahead of schedule on the number of personnel we have versus the number
which we are supposed to be currently manned. This has led to Detachment
2 Airmen being able to integrate into every aspect of operations and
TFI associations pair two units; a host and associate; representing two
Air Force components, operating together. The host unit is assigned the
physical resources for mission accomplishment, such as aircraft,
equipment and facilities, and the associate unit shares those resources.
Active associations pair a reserve component host and an active
component associate to improve access to aircraft and total rotational
capacity by assigning active component Airmen in reserve component
units, allowing the highly experienced reserve component to help develop
and season maturing active component Airmen. There are currently 100
TFI associations, both active and classic, across a variety of weapons
systems and functional areas and Air Force Major Commands. The CSAF has
directed the Air Force to develop additional active associations at all
air reserve and national guard component fighter locations to ensure
that the Total Force is able to absorb and season enough young pilots
and maintainers to meet future Total Force requirements.
"All 482nd FW leadership and personnel have been extremely helpful and
integral to the establishment of the detachment," said Walker. "If you
were to walk out on the flight line or enter any of the maintenance
shops, you would not be able to tell a reservist from an active duty
Airman. This is a testament to how well the integration process has gone
for us here at Homestead ARB."