Active Duty, Citizen Airmen work together to complete the mission

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Part of the “Total Force” concept, the U.S. Air Force strives daily to integrate active-duty and reserve Airmen. By interoperating, the Air Force is able to create a “Total Force” capable of completing the mission regardless of the full-time or part-time nature of the Airmen’s service.

Airmen assigned to the 6th Maintenance Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, actively work with their reserve counterparts to sustain proficiency, maintain continuity and complete the mission.

“The importance of having a reservist and active-duty relationship is most visible when transitioning from the end of the active-duty Airmen’s work week leading into our reserve weekend, ”said Staff Sgt. Ashlery Boyer, an aircraft structural maintenance technician assigned to the 927th Maintenance Squadron. “We are able to get ahead on the maintenance assigned to the shop by working together and helping each other out.”

Although traditional reservists (TRs) do, not all Air Force reservists work only one weekend per month and two weeks per year. There are Air Reserve Technicians (ARTs) who work in uniform, but in a civilian status during the week and in military status for their reserve requirement. There are also individual mobilization augmentees (IMAs), who are reservists embedded into active-duty units, completing their military requirements alongside their active-duty counterparts.

At any point in time, a reservist can be called to duty to fulfill the needs of the Air Force at either their home station or abroad.

“I will be on active orders until the end of September, which allows me to better understand how this shop works,” Boyer added. “It ensures that when we come in on the weekend, we are all on the same page and task completions are seamless.”

The reservists, also known as Citizen Airmen, bring non-military specific skills and attributes to the maintenance shop that benefit their active-duty counterparts, as well as the young Airmen who look to them for guidance.

“Reservists and active-duty work hand-in-hand,” said Airman 1st Class Katherine Dawson, a metals technologies apprentice assigned to the 6th MXS. “I cannot tell the difference between 6th and 927th maintainers.

“I have to say that everyone in my shop, active-duty and reserve, motivates me and takes the time to ensure I’m proficient in my job and training progression.”

The 6th Maintenance Squadron takes pride in working together with the reserve counterparts embedded in their shop.

“If you look at the top of our squadron patch you will see the word PRIDE,” said Chief Master Sgt. David Loop, 6th Maintenance Squadron, superintendent. “It is an acronym that we use to represent who we are and who we take pride in being. PRIDE represents: Professionals, Readiness, Integrated, Dedication, and Equipped.

“The integration is where the 927th really comes in. We are all brothers and sisters in MXS, the pride that each one of our Airmen have makes mission success more possible.”