two Wings, One Team

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Joseph Garcia
  • 509th Bomb Wing
Airmen must often integrate and work together as a team to support and accomplish the U.S. Air Force’s mission to fly, fight, and win.

When active duty, reserve, and National Guard components work together, it’s known as Total Force Integration.

While the 442nd Fighter Wing is a reserve wing and the 509th Bomb Wing is active-duty, they often work together to accomplish their respective missions.

SMSgt. Craig Coppenbarger, 442nd Civil Engineering Squadron, operations superintendent, said an example of this is when the 442nd can provide extra manpower while the 509th provides more opportunities for training.

“We don’t have the job orders to get enough hands-on training so we have a written agreement saying, ‘we will provide additional labor if the Airmen get signed off on training requirements,’” said Coppenbarger. “It’s a mutually beneficial program where they get free labor, and we get skills training.”

TFI not only aids both wings directly, but this integration also helps later down the road. Coppenbarger said 442nd Airmen working with an active-duty unit for training gives them a taste of how a deployment or a temporary duty assignment can be.

509th Civil Engineering Squadron, plumber supervisor, David Neuman said this is especially important since Airmen often deploy with a mix of active and reserve units.

“Many of our personnel have worked with reservists in deployed locations,” said Neuman. “Working together at home base reinforces the one-team concept to enable smoother communication and transitions while away.”

509th Airmen also get a better understanding of their reservist counterparts this way. Reservists, who spend most of their time working at civilian jobs, bring a different perspective to the military. This is especially true of reservists who have years of experience in a specific career and can bring that to the Air Force.

“It’s a balance where active duty and reservists bring a lot together,” Coppenbarger said.

This balance, he said, allows reservists to bring their extensive knowledge during periods of critical manning so the 509th can continue their mission at the same pace.

Not only do the 442nd and 509th missions get supported, but the Whiteman AFB mission benefits as well.

“It fulfills our big picture mission to have highly qualified and trained Airmen to do whatever the Air Force needs us to do,” said Coppenbarger. “The more we work together the more we can bring our strengths to the table.”

The strengths that TFI brings to the forefront help Whiteman AFB stay mission ready anytime, anywhere.