Seamless integration

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Brice Middleton
  • 912 ARS
Some people may have noticed a growing number of new faces here at March Air Reserve Base since last September when the 912th Air Refueling Squadron reactivated and added more than 200 people to Team March.

For those who don't know, the 912th is an active duty associate unit that is a tenant on the base. However, we have almost 30 Air Force specialty codes in our squadron that work on an integrated basis in and among the units of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing. We are here as part of the Total Force Initiative to leverage the strengths of our Reserve partners with our own, in an effort to provide Air Force Reserve Command and Air Mobility Command with increased flexibility and agile combat support.

Despite being a relatively new term, TFI is not a new concept. In fact, mobility forces in particular have been practicing TFI for more than 50 years with Reserve, Guard and active duty forces working together on an almost daily basis to accomplish the mission.

However, the demand on mobility resources has increased exponentially in the past decade, even though budgets and personnel have been decreasing. The Air Force has had to be more efficient and find synergistic ways to make one plus one equal three. ..and sometimes four.

As a result of this necessity, the TFI active duty associate unit concept was created to stand up KC-135 and C-130 units at aircraft-equipped Guard and Reserve bases to augment their mission capability and personnel availability. In other words, even though the AFRC does a phenomenal job supporting the fight, many of you have "real" jobs that often limit your availability.

We in the 912th are here to help provide personnel who are available 365 days a year and increase March ARB's contribution to the Global Reach mission. In addition, similar units have been stood up at Seymour-Johnson, Pease, Birmingham, Cheyenne, Colorado Springs and Scott Air Force Bases, and we, the joint AFRC-Active Duty team, have provided an incalculable impact on supporting the mobility mission.

On a more local level, I would like to thank Team March and all of the units of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing for being a terrific host unit and providing unsurpassed support to the 200 active duty Air Force members and their families who have moved into the local area in a very short span of time. PCSing and standing up a unit are two tasks that are always very trying and challenging, but your support has made our transition an easy one and that's despite the fact that March, as a Reserve base, does not have all of the facilities active duty members are accustomed to having.

I would especially like to thank our sister squadron, the 336th Air Refueling Squadron, for opening up their building to us and sponsoring our ADVON members as they arrived. The seamless integration of our two squadrons flying daily missions around the world has proven the value of the TFI concept and I know our combined experience will provide the total force with big dividends inthe future.