The Air Force yesterday announced the latest of its Total Force Integration initiatives, each affecting reserve and active units in Arkansas, Georgia, New York, and Tennessee. Starting with Tennessee, the Air National Guard’s 118th Airlift Wing will have a flying mission, but it won’t be the new Joint Cargo Aircraft, as some state officials expected. Instead, USAF plans to make the 118th AW into a formal training unit that would instruct foreign air forces on the operation and maintenance of C-130s. The unit still loses its current C-130H aircraft, as directed by BRAC 2005, but it gains WC-130H aircraft. For New York, as we reported earlier, USAF plans to have ANG’s 107th Air Refueling Wing link up with Air Force Reserve Command’s 914th Airlift Wing to fly and maintain the 914th’s C-130s. In Georgia, AFRC’s 94th Airlift Wing will give up its FTU status and enter the service’s air expeditionary force rotation. And, in Arkansas, the active 314th Airlift Wing will add the training load from the 94th AW and expand its C-130J training duties to include international partners.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.