Released: 26 Aug 1999
As of Aug. 24, about 400 reservists with expeditionary combat support skills will participate in Aerospace Expeditionary Forces 1 through 4, Oct. 1 to Feb. 29. As providers of base operating support, expeditionary combat support people include civil engineers, security forces members, financial managers, personnel specialists and aerial porters.
"The Air Force went to the air reserve components first to fill AEFs 1 through 4," said Lt. Col. John Woerly, Reserve EAF project officer.
For AEFs 5 through 10, the Air Force will seek people by unit type codes rather than using the Palace Tenure program, the current system for assigning support people. The codes are five-character, alphanumeric codes that identify each type of military skill.
To help match expeditionary combat support reservists with requirements, the Reserve has developed a unit sourcing template. The 439th Airlift Wing, Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., and the 433rd AW, Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, have been identified for AEFs 1 and 2. The 911th AW, Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pa., and the 507th Air Refueling Wing, Tinker AFB, Okla., are covering AEFs 3 and 4.
"The active force has been happy with the aviation support the Reserve has provided during contingencies," Woerly said. "It should be happy with the ECS that our people can provide. The active-duty (force) needs the help because some functional area managers have said their career fields will have difficulty filling all requirements without reservists. Here's an opportunity for the Air Force to use an underutilized resource."
Woerly said the personnel tempo for the Reserve will increase but will help justify reservists' positions.
"If reservists are not used to support real-world contingencies, there may not be a need to keep them," he explained. "EAF participation will also give them a theater perspective and may give some an opportunity to use state-of-the-art equipment they don't have access to in their unit."
One goal of the EAF concept is to avoid shutting down support functions at a base, such as security forces. By using people from different bases and accepting volunteers from the Reserve, units tapped to support an AEF will still have people at the home base to perform base support activities. For example, if an AEF needs a 44-person security forces unit, members of the unit can come from different bases from throughout the United States.
One 13-member team might come from a Reserve unit, the second team may consist of active-duty members, the third team may belong to an Air National Guard unit, and the five-member headquarters staff may come from another Reserve unit.
The Reserve wants to fill ECS slots with volunteers, ideally from the same flying wing supporting the AEF. If that's not possible, then volunteers from wings participating in the same 15-month EAF cycle, followed by volunteers from any wing. If there are no volunteers, the Reserve will take reservists directed on annual tour from the same wing supporting the AEF, followed by reservists from wings in the current EAF cycle, next EAF cycle and then any EAF cycle. (Courtesy of AFRC News Service)
* Air Force Reserve Command
* Air National Guard
* Expeditionary Aerospace Force
* Kelly Air Force Base, Texas
* Robins Air Force Base, Ga.
* Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.