Total Force Initiative x2

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo -- Another "first" Total Force Initiative strikes Whiteman AFB again!

Most of you are already familiar with working with someone from a Reserve component - probably a guardsman with the 131st Bomb Wing, in fact. But now, active-duty members will be working more closely with reservists also, but this time, as an active-duty associate detachment.

The shrinking Department of Defense budgets and the reduction of the number of fighter aircraft in the fleet are driving new "active" associates units with Reserve and National Guard units.

These new TFIs helps the maximize our existing aircraft inventories and manpower, while at the same time, ensures the can project the needed combat airpower when called upon by combatant commanders.

The 442nd Fighter Wing is the recipient of the Air Force Reserve's first ever active-associate fighter wing. What does this mean for you? Active-duty Airmen who PCS to Whiteman, can now be assigned to the 442nd Fighter Wing.

Unlike a classic associate (like the 131st who works alongside the 509th to accomplish its AF Global Strike Command mission,) the incoming detachment of active-duty members will work with reservists to accomplish the Air Force Reserve Command-assigned mission.

This new association will be the first of several hitting the Air Force Reserve in the coming years and will soon be considered the norm for flying wings.

Although news about this association has been out on the street for a while now, and many have forgotten about the upcoming TFI, the dust was quickly blown off the story recently when the first wave of active-duty Airmen started arriving at Whiteman AFB and into the 442d FW. Active-duty members around the world have begun receiving orders here to work with the fighter wing.

The world, and life, as this Reserve unit knew it, has officially changed, remarked one Airman. This association will bring in a combination of maintainers, pilots and support personnel who will blend in with the existing 442d Fighter Wing's squadrons and flights infrastructure.

The detachment will be administratively controlled as detachment II of the 23rd Fighter Wing out of Moody AFB, Ga. This detachment recently received their new commander, Lt. Col. Joshua Ruddell, and first sergeant Master Sgt. Cristofer Valenzuela, who hit the ground running and quickly began working to prepare their new unit for this inaugural mission.

The primary intent with this TFI is to tap into the Reserve's years of expertise, politically correct way of saying seasoned workforce, and combat experience. Many of these new Airmen coming to the 442nd will be "pipeline" Airmen who will benefit from reservists, many of which have more than 15 years experience with the A-10. Additionally, active-duty pilots will have the opportunity to fly and train with veteran combat pilots with thousands of logged hours in the warthog.

Of course this isn't a one-sided story where only the active-duty benefits; the Reserve will gain in the form of the number of full-time workers present during the week. The additional full-time manpower that the active-duty will bring to the table will help with providing the maintenance and support that sometimes overwhelms the skeleton AFRC workforce.

So if you ever thought it was difficult to tell the difference between the active-duty, guardsmen and reservists, it just got even harder!