Whiteman AFB embodies Total Force Integration
By Master Sgt. Allan Sturges, 442nd Fighter Wing command chief
/ Published July 21, 2009
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
What a great time to be at Whiteman Air Force Base where our leaders' policies of Total Force and Total Force Integration are being showcased around the world.
Here at Whiteman we are truly showing the world that we are a Total Force, populated with the most awesome, professional, combat-proven Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen operating, maintaining and supporting the most lethal weapon systems known to mankind. By having the Air Force's 509th Bomb Wing, Air National Guard's 131st BW, Army Guard's 1-135 Aviation Battalion, Navy Reserve's Mobile Expeditionary Security Division 13 and the Air Force Reserve's 442 Fighter Wing, Team Whiteman is showing the world that Total Force Integration works and is here to stay.
We are also exposed to our sister services heritage, personnel and missions. I challenge everyone to research their sister services' rank and organizational structure and to enroll, and finish, a joint professional military education course commensurate with your rank.
Last year, Secretary of Defense Gates said, "(we) all recognize that the National Guard and the Reserves are integral to the Total Force and have assumed a greater operational role in today's force." Each of the units assigned to Whiteman have been a joint partner in the defense of our nation, whether it be Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle or any of the other combat operations around the world. Total Force is evident in every part of the AOR with the Regular Air Force, Guard and Reserve working towards the same end.
Total Force Integration is a concept that was unknown until just a few years ago. TFI allows us to maximize the use of our Air Forces' equipment and Airmen to bring multiple levels of response to our combatant commanders. All three components of the Air Force are an active part of Team Whiteman with the 131st BW associating with the 509th BW. An associate unit occurs when a National Guard or Reserve unit merges with its active-duty counterpart to create two units, which are closely integrated and flying the same aircraft; In this case it's the Missouri Air National Guard flying with the Air Force.
The 442 FW recently activated another A-10 group at Moody AFB - where the Reserves provide the manpower and the active duty wing provides the aircraft. We are leveraging our people and equipment to maximize the forces available to the combatant commander. Our Air Force has evolved to the point where it's no longer an "us vs. them" Air Force. We are one team, one fight.
Under TFI, you may not know who you're working with. Are they Guard, Active Duty or Reserve? They wear the same uniforms, follow the same AFIs and gripe about the same things--no matter which component they are from.
While TFI is a new concept to fighter and bomber units, the tanker and airlift communities have been doing it for years. You could have flown to your last remote assignment or deployment on an aircraft operated and maintained by a TFI wing, and unless you asked you never would have known. If you have ever in-flight refueled you were probably refueled by a TFI wing - TFI allows us to better use our people and equipment.
So this truly is a great time to be part of Team Whiteman. We have our sister services on station and all three components of the Air Force employing an awesome array of combat power. But more importantly we have the greatest Airmen in all of the Air Force - representing all the Air Force's components - here at Whiteman.