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Reserve pilots utilize A-10s in support of Total Force Integration

by Airman 1st Class Frances Locquiao
23rd Wing Public Affairs

6/25/2008 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFPN) -- Air Force Reserve Command pilots recently took flight in an A-10 Thunderbolt II here in support of an Air Force-wide initiative designed to integrate reservists, guardsmen and civilians with active-duty Airmen.

The Total Force Integration initiative, which was established by Air Force officials at Moody Air Force Base in September 2007, is designed to join all Airmen and their civilian counterparts to more efficiently complete the mission.

Two pilots from the 442nd Fighter Wing, Det. 1, took flight in a 23rd Fighter Group A-10 for the first time since completing conversion training.

Moody AFB's reservists operate under their own command structure and report to the 442nd FW, an Air Force Reserve Command A-10 unit at Whiteman AFB, Mo.

Nellis AFB, Nev., Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, and Holloman AFB, N.M., are also currently participating in the TFI effort.

"This was the first time we were able to fly the A-10C since completing conversion training," said Lt. Col. Mickey Moore, 442nd FW, Det. 1 director of operations. "We are getting back into the flying business so that our pilots will be re-familiarized with the aircraft."

The recent flights marked a return to flying operations for the unit after a transitional period where the initial cadre focused on building the groundwork for the new Reserve organization.

Capt. LaRue Russell, the 442nd FW, Det. 1 director of training, was the first pilot to fly an integrated sortie here, launched by another reservist, crew chief Senior Airman Tracey Robson.

"It was very enjoyable to fly the C-model A-10 again," Captain Russell said. "The biggest challenges were remembering the things I learned about flying the A-10C and knocking the rust off."

The unit will continue to train and build on its experiences with the A-10C, said Col. Greg Eckfeld, the 442nd FW Det. 1 commander.

"We want to build a cadre of experience, both pilot and maintenance professionals," he said. "Our pilots are expected to continuously train and instruct Moody (AFB) pilots."

The pilots will fly at least six to nine times a month, fully integrating into the active-duty flight schedules.

"We have a different flying hour program," Colonel Moore said. "Our schedule does not take time away from the active-duty flying program."

On top of fully integrating the pilots into the active-duty flying schedule, the unit will be bringing approximately 200 additional maintainers to Moody' AFBs flightline.

"We're very motivated to be successful and help support the (23rd FG) mission," Colonel Eckfeld said. "The integration has been smooth, and the next step is waiting for the other Reserve maintainers and pilots to arrive."

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