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NEWS | March 12, 2024

433rd Contingency Response Flight trains, transforms for future

By Tech. Sgt. Jacob Lewis 433rd Contingency Response Flight

Having an effective contingency response team is vital to being able to react to real-world events and emergencies.

The Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 433rd Contingency Response Flight conducted valuable training in preparation for activating to a full-fledged Contingency Response Squadron in answer to active duty integrating into new environments at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on March 2-3. 

“There are 19 people in the flight now counting myself and when we go squadron, there will be 54 people,” said Maj. Alexander Williams, 433rd Contingency Response Flight commander. 

“As we grow into the squadron, we will be gaining many new members,” said Senior Master Sgt. Bret Christofferson, 433rd CRF senior enlisted leader. “Those include aerial porters, civil engineers, crew chiefs, petroleum oil and lubricants technicians, security forces, aerospace ground equipment personnel, airfield managers, vehicle maintainers, weather, and power pro personnel.” 

“Right now, we have one team, but as we grow into a squadron, we will have two teams," Williams said. "Each team is 25 individuals. We will replicate a miniature air base wing that is completely led by NCOs on the ground.” 

The 433rd CRF must be prepared to activate and fly out to varying austere locations in a short notice and the training over the March drill weekend honed their capabilities. 

“This is a training event,” Williams said. “It’s a way for us to get our hands on equipment, break it out. It's been in storage for the past couple of months and It's a way to get our people repetition on equipment that they're going to take in the field. You can set up a tent every two years to get qualified for training, but we want to develop muscle memory to be ready at any time to go on deployment.” 

As active duty missions transform across the globe, Contingency Response units must evolve to meet their needs.  

“There are 5 different CR units in the Air Force Reserve Command and each one has different sizes and capabilities,” Williams added. “And the problem was when the active-duty reached out to the Reserves, there was a weird mish mash of capabilities and sizes. So, we are modernizing to reflect active-duty that way if they need CR and need to dig into the Reserve, they will know we look and function like active-duty.” 

As the world tensions around the globe transform the Air Force and other armed services must step up and face them critically. 

“In the Middle East, we were doing counter-insurgency stuff in Afghanistan where you’d go to Bagram or Al Udeid or Al Dafra and you’d go to the same locations that were very robust with developed infrastructure and you didn’t need us, so we focused on humanitarian aid or disaster relief and we are going away from that,” Williams said. “We are focusing on pure conflict and as Ukraine has demonstrated for the past two years now, even areas in the far rear are not safe from harassment attacks or drone strikes or other threats.” 

The 433rd CRF trains tirelessly to face any austere environment and to seamlessly transition to a squadron. 

“I'm extremely fortunate,” Williams said about the 433rd CRF. “I have some of the best Airmen in the Air Force. They do all the hard work. I just try and make sure they have everything they need to do it. It's a time of change both for us and for the whole Air Force.”