Unrivaled Wingmen of the Air Force Reserve

  • Published
  • By Col. Stephen D. Goeman
  • 459th Air Refueling Wing vice commander
President Harry Truman directed in the National Security Act of 1947 that the services revitalize their reserve programs. Since its inception in April 1948, the Air Force Reserve has evolved from a mobilization-only force into an Operational Reserve integrated 24/7 with the active Air Force. Dedicated Citizen Airmen stand ready to fly and fight as Unrivaled Wingmen.

Just who is your typical Air Force Reservist and what do they bring to the fight? Today we are a force of 74,000 dedicated men and women who provide the Air Force about 20 percent of their capability with only about four percent of the total Air Force budget.

Here at Andrews Air Force Base, we consist of 1300 members of the 459th Air Refueling Wing flying the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. We are proud members of Team Andrews and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Total Force partners in the active Air Force, Guard, and Reserves.

There is no standard profile for an Air Force Reservist; they are just as unique and special as any Airman serving today in any of our components. We prefer to call them Citizen Airmen, a description we consider sacred.

These Citizen Airmen work in your local communities as teachers, nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters and most any other civilian occupation you could name. As are all Airmen, they are drawn to the U.S. Air Force by that desire to serve and make a difference to our great country. That core value of Service Before Self is ingrained into each and every one of our Citizen Airmen.

In the 459th ARW, we are extremely proud of our Citizen Airmen. Please don't consider them as anything less than a full mission partner. These Citizen Airmen in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve face the same challenges as any active duty Airman. The Reserve forces have evolved over the past 20 years into what we now refer to as an Operational Reserve. Our training requirements are the same as those on active status. Our AEF deployments mirror those of active duty personnel. As of today, nearly 10 percent of our unit is deployed supporting Air Force taskings. We deploy into the area of responsibility and serve interchangeably with military members of all components. We are prepared to make any and all sacrifices fighting the ongoing Global War on Terror. We consider our duty a sacred responsibility - and we'll meet the challenge.

As the Air Force Reserve prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary this April, we Citizen Airmen of the 459th ARW are proud to be Unrivaled Wingmen" serving as a key component of the world's premier Air Force.