Sixty years of evolution gives us today's Air Force Reserve

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jake Chappelle
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Last year the Air Force celebrated its 60th Anniversary as a separate service. This year, the Air Force Reserve gets its place in the spotlight, celebrating its 60th birthday. Air Force Reserve is used to being the "sidekick" to its active duty big brother. But the presence of the AFRC Reservist in today's Air Force is strong, respected and appreciated.

After World War II, President Harry Truman wanted to create a Reserve program just like the one that was activated during World War I. On April 14, 1948, President Truman officially created the Air Force Reserve.

"Our diamond anniversary recognizes the Air Force Reserve--military, civilians, and family members--that have made countless and enduring contributions throughout these past sixty years," said Lt. Gen. John Bradley, Air Force Reserve Command commander.

Since it was established, the Air Force Reserve has built up a valuable history with its response to disasters, humanitarian aid, and conflicts. According to General Bradley, Reserve history is also a study of changing, adapting and evolving - from a strategic force held in reserve to an operational Reserve force with the most advanced weapons systems.

AFRC became so heavily manned and crucial to the Air Force mission that it became the ninth major command of the Air Force on Feb. 17, 1997.

The 446th Airlift Wing was first activated in the Air Force Reserve in 1948 as the 446th Troop Carrier Group at Carswell AFB, Texas.

The 446th AW has a few milestones of its own embedded in AFRC history. It was the first Air Force Reserve organization, in 1958, to apply the Air Reserve Technician plan. Between 1958 and 1972, the wing operated the Combat Crew Training School, the first Air Force Reserve institution that trained active-duty crews.

The 446th AW is also the oldest Reserve wing to participate in the Reserve Associate program. The Reserve Associate program provides trained crews and maintenance personnel to active-duty owned aircraft and space operations. The program pairs a Reserve unit with an active-duty unit to share operational assests, such as aircraft, and applies the idea there are more operational requirements than there is manpower to fulfill them. Today the associate program is expanding its place in Reserve lore with the Active Associate program. In an Active Associate set up, the Reserve unit owns the aircraft, while the active force provides aircrews and maintainers who share the responsibility of flying and maintaining the planes.

The Air Force Reserve has been a partner in national security over the past 60 years, but never more so than the past 16 years.

On the AFRC 60th anniversary Web site, General Bradley wrote of the importance of AFRC Airmen's contributions to the war on terror. "The Air Force Reserve has been an important part of that effort. Regardless of military or civilian status, Reservists have performed admirably whether in volunteer or mobilization status. At times they have worked in extreme conditions to aid foreign and domestic peoples in need. They have delivered superior options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests--to fly and fight in air, space, and cyberspace.

"I congratulate each one of you who helped us to fly, fight and win. We reaffirm our commitment to today's fight as a reliable and adept Total Force partner in the air, space, and cyberspace."

For more on the history of the Air Force Reserve and its celebrating 60 years of service, visit