Tour gives civic leaders a peek inside the Air Force Reserve

  • Published
  • By Jim Strickland
  • Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command

Air Force Reserve Command gave community leaders with its civic leader advisory group an up-close-and-personal look at what it does in the defense of the nation during a two-day, multi-base tour the last week of April.

The seven civic leaders, including honorary commanders, gathered at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, and flew to Air Force bases in Texas and Florida to see first-hand what Reserve Citizen Airmen do on a daily basis. Maj. Gen. Jay Jensen, special assistant to the AFRC commander, led the tour, representing Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee.

Flying the Air Force’s newest tanker, the KC-46, two Reserve aircrews from the 916th Air Refueling Wing, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, flew the civic leaders from Dobbins to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, and to Duke Field, Florida, before returning them to Dobbins.

Along the way, the civic leaders had the opportunity to see their KC-46 being refueled by another KC-46, witness their KC-46 refueling a B-52 and watch from a distance as a KC-46 refueled a pair of F-16 fighters.

At Fort Worth, Col. Allen Duckworth, commander of the Reserve’s 301st Fighter Wing, led the civic leaders on a tour of the wing’s facilities and highlighted its capabilities, showing them how his Reserve Citizen Airmen maintain and fly their F-16 Fighting Falcons. The civic leaders also had the opportunity to witness a security forces K-9 dog demonstration.

At Duke Field, Col. Michael Lowe, the vice commander of the 919th Special Operations Wing, told the group about the wing’s mission and contributions around the globe.

“We are the only special operations wing in the Reserve and also the only Reserve wing in Air Force Special Operations Command, so there is a unique relationship we want to tell civic leaders about,” he said.

Reservists from the 919th Security Forces Squadron provided an overview of the MRZR all-terrain vehicle, and members from two of the 919th SOW’s flying squadrons explained their missions while providing a tour of the C-146A Wolfhound, C-208 Caravan and C-145A Skytruck aircraft.

“I never knew what Reserve members did here or that these services existed to support teams on the ground and across the world,” Larysa Kautz, president and chief executive officer of Melwood, a nonprofit providing jobs and opportunities for people with disabilities in the greater Washington, D.C. area, said. “It’s amazing how much Duke and Hurlburt Field do here, and the people are phenomenal – from the language abilities and overarching abilities to teach foreign countries how to fly and maintain aircraft is incredible.” Kautz is the honorary commander with the Reserve’s 459th ARW at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

After the tour, the civic leaders returned to Dobbins and then back to their communities with a better understanding of what Reserve Citizen Airmen do every day to support the nation’s defense.

“The visit was extremely informative,” said Ted Kelley, owner of Blue Sky Exhibits in Marietta, Georgia. “It was wonderful meeting all the leadership, and I was very impressed by the briefings. I have an affinity for the military.
I never served and this is my way of giving back to make sure Reserve members receive what they need.”

(Michelle Gigante from the 919th Special Operations Wing’s public affairs office, contributed to this story.)