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AFRC at Randolph play many roles in mission

By David DeKunder | Wingspread staff writer | Dec. 18, 2007

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — As a result of the Global War on Terror, Team Randolph reservists are expanding their roles in helping the Air Force fulfill its mission needs at home and overseas. 

The Air Force Reserve Command has over 600 full-time and part-time reservists at Randolph who perform various duties and tasks on base. 

The AFRC, along with the Air National Guard, are part of the Air Reserve Component. Established as a major command in 1997, the AFRC has over 74,000 reservists who perform the same tasks active-duty servicemembers perform, such as fighter missions, airlift support, aerial refueling, flying training and supporting disaster relief in the U.S. 

Randolph is the home of two AFRC units, Readiness Management Group, Detachment 7, and the 340th Flying Training Group. 

Col. Robin Grantham, AFRC RMG, Det. 7 Individual Mobilization Augmentee Program manager, said reservists, or IMAs, fill many different jobs at Randolph. 

IMAs are reservists who receive training, attend drills and are assigned to a unit on a part-time basis to prepare for mobilization. 

"IMAs do jobs active-duty personnel would do on base," Colonel Grantham said. "We have IMAs serving in the security forces, as Judge Advocate Generals, as personnel specialists, as civil engineers and as chaplains. Just about anything that is going on at Randolph, there is an IMA doing it." 

Colonel Grantham said there are 15 to 20 RMG reservists who are in the process of being deployed. 

"If it were not for the reservists at Randolph, AETC would be struggling to accomplish its mission," she said. "Reservists make enormous contributions to the Air Force." 

The reservists and IMAs who make up the RMG, Det. 7 unit, are experienced Air Force warriors, Colonel Grantham said. 

"By and large the average reservist has spent at least six to eight years on active duty," the colonel said. 

The other part of the Air Reserve Component, the Air National Guard, has a presence at seven AETC bases. 

Col. Philip Vaneau, 19th Air Force Air National Guard adviser, said the AETC guard units have knowledgeable and experienced instructors who are providing valuable training to aircrew and weapons directors. 

"The Air National Guard units are a great way for us to retain experienced pilots," he said. "It is difficult to put a cost on experience. With the ANG units we are able to capture valuable experience." 

The AETC ANG units are the 149th Fighter Wing at Kelly Field in San Antonio; the 162nd Fighter Wing, Tucson Airport, Ariz.; the 178th Fighter Wing, Springfield-Beckley Airport, Ohio; the 173rd Fighter Wing, Klamath Falls Airport, Ore.; the 189th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.; and the 107th Air Control Squadron, Phoenix, Ariz. The 118 Airlift Wing Tennessee Air National Guard in Nashville, Tenn is scheduled to be gained by AETC this summer. 

The 173rd FW specializes in the F-15; the 149th FW, the 162nd FW and the 178th FW fly the F-16; and the 189th AW trains C-130 instructors. The 107th ACS teaches servicemembers how to be ground-based weapons controllers and the 118 AW will train international C-130 students. 

Colonel Vaneau said as the GWOT continues, the AFRC is relying on ANG units to perform important missions for the Air Force. 

"We provide an experienced instructor force for many students going through AETC flying or technical training courses," he said. "We are and will be doing more international training because a lot of our foreign allies are purchasing equipment such as F-16s, C-130s and the Joint Strike Fighter. The ARC provides valuable experience and continuity for the total force." 

The 340th FTG, which is under the AFRC 10th Air Force headquartered at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Carswell Air Reserve Station, Texas, conducts pilot training for Team Randolph's primary aircraft, the T-38, AT-38, the T-1 and the T-6. 

Col. Terry J. Ross, 340th FTG commander, said the unit is made of 450 reserve instructor pilots at five AETC bases, including Randolph, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. 

"We do 20 percent of the pilot training in the Air Force, which includes total force and international training," Colonel Ross said. 

The 340th FTG has subordinate units at Vance AFB, Okla., Columbus AFB, Miss., Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, Texas, Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas and the Air Force Academy. 

Colonel Ross said 340th FTG instructors teach student pilots the basic and advanced lessons of flying. 

"We teach the student pilots the basics of military flying when they are training in the T-6," the colonel said. "When they go to the T-1 or T-38, we teach them the advanced techniques of flying." 

The average instructor pilot in the 340th FTG has approximately 3,700 hours of military flying time and 1,800 hours instructing students. 

Colonel Ross said the experience and knowledge the instructors provide should help the Air Force produce good war fighters and instructor pilots in the future. 

"The experienced pilot reservists provide leadership and mentorship to the young instructors, which will make them good military aviators," he said. 

Members from the 340th FTG have participated in the GWOT. Unit personnel have been deployed to the front lines in Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa, and to Washington, D.C., where they have helped enforce the no-fly zone around the nation's capital. 

"At any time we have six to 12 people deployed," Colonel Ross said. "Our enlisted and instructor pilots have done a lot of 120-day tours. Also, we have helped bases fill their active-duty requirements if needed." 

In addition, unit instructors teach Air Force Academy cadets gliding, soaring and parachuting. 

The Air Force recognizes the importance of having reserve instructor pilots on standby, Colonel Ross said. 

"The AETC leadership has realized they need to tap into the experience of these instructors so that they can perform the day-to-day operations of flying training," he said. 

With experienced and knowledgeable personnel, the AFRC units at Team Randolph have proven to the Air Force that they can do the job right when called upon.