DYESS AFB, Texas --
Five months after the reactivation of the Reserve 489th Bomb Group, they are working side-by-side with the Active Duty Airmen in the 7th Bomb Wing, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. During the Bomb Group’s February Unit Training Assembly, the maintenance crews from both units combined to complete an Aircraft Generation Exercise.
“My Airmen are working the same 12-hour shifts as their active duty counterparts,” explains Maj. Garth Ranz, the 489th Maintenance Squadron commander. “Active Duty and Reservists need to be able to work as one team because we are all in the same fight and need that team cohesion.”
The 489th Bomb Group and its subordinate units, the 345th Bomb Squadron, 489th Maintenance Squadron and the 489th Aerospace Medicine Flight, is an active association with the 7th Bomb Wing. This type of Total Force Integration has the reserve unit integrate to support the active duty’s mission and assets.
“We have only been around for five months but Active Duty is already depending on us,” explains Col. Denis Heinz, the 489th Bomb Group commander. “Going forward, there is no doubt that our Air Force is going to rely more, not less, on our Reserve and National Guard forces. The inclusion of all components of the Air Force Structures is vital to sustaining the capabilities required to meet the challenges from strategic uncertainty, fiscal constraints, and rapidly evolving threats.”
Initially, almost half of the Airmen that came to the 489th were fully qualified. The Reserves provide a great way for the Air Force to retain knowledgeable Airmen, thus providing access to a larger pool of qualified Airmen for the mission.
According to Heinz, hiring for the Group has been better than expected and sits at 38%. While still only a third manned, the Group was able to participate in almost all facets of the generation to include medical processing, unit deployment duties, flight operations, weapons loading and aircraft generation. The Group is well ahead of the target to be fully mission capable by 2018, and has already proved itself to be valuable total force partner with the 7th Bomb Wing.