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"Outlaws" embracing the In-laws

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matt Lowe, 924th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, and Master Sgt. James Pumarajo, 924th MXS munitions flight chief, show and discuss the weapons capabilities of the A-10 Thunderbolt II with aviation ordnancemen from the Naval Munitions Command on the flightline at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida during the 924th Fighter Group’s annual training, July 18. The service members also describe the differences between their career fields within their specific branches. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matt Lowe, 924th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, and Master Sgt. James Pumarajo, 924th MXS munitions flight chief, show and discuss the weapons capabilities of the A-10 Thunderbolt II with aviation ordnancemen from the Naval Munitions Command on the flightline at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida during the 924th Fighter Group’s annual training, July 18. The service members also describe the differences between their career fields within their specific branches. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

A-10 Thunderbolt II’s from the 47th Fighter Squadron sit on the flightline at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida during the 924th Fighter Group’s annual training, July 17. A total of 10 A-10’s and 232 personnel flew to the tropical environment to practice things they don’t normally do like flying over water and flying off of an island. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

A-10 Thunderbolt II’s from the 47th Fighter Squadron sit on the flightline at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida during the 924th Fighter Group’s annual training, July 17. A total of 10 A-10’s and 232 personnel flew to the tropical environment to practice things they don’t normally do like flying over water and flying off of an island. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Richardson)

Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. -- The 924th Fighter Group works on unit camaraderie while launching A-10 Thunderbolt II’s here July 18.

The 924th is recognized for their footprint on the Total Force Integration initiative.

“We have traditional reservist, air reserve technicians and active-duty Airmen all integrated to complete the mission,” said Major Bobby Cheek, 924th Maintenance Squadron commander.

During this annual tour the unit has about 50 traditional reservist, 40 air reserve technicians, and 30 active-duty Airmen in their total force package.

“The goal of true TFI is to not know who’s who, that’s the only way it can work,” said Cheek.

The 924th aircraft maintenance superintendent, Chief Master Sgt. Jamie Cornelia, who spent 10 years on active-duty and 17 years as an ART, appreciates having active-duty Airmen assigned to their unit.

“We have active-duty filling position in every shop across the board in our maintenance unit, and without them we could not do the mission,” said Cornelia. “We call them our in-laws.”

Cornelia explains that with low manning and the amount of time it takes to hire a full-time ART in the unit it becomes very difficult for his team to do their jobs.

“I’d take more if they give them to me,” said Cornelia.

When an Airman is newly assigned to the unit, regardless of their affiliation, Cornelia has one task he asks of each of them.

“If you can tell the difference between a traditional reservist, ART and active-duty person, I want to know about it because we should never be able to tell,” said Cornelia, “In fact no one should know the flavor of our unit.”

Cheek and Cornelia explain that getting off-station and being able to bring all of the Airmen or at least a large portion of them, brings them closer because they really only have each other in a new location.

“Team building is always good and temporary duties are great for building morale and creating a unit identity,” said Cheek. “I mean we are in Key West, what better place.”