The grand Total Force experiment placing active duty airmen with an Air National Guard unit in Cheyenne, Wyo., has passed its first year—and it’s working, reports 1st Lt. Tim Lockwood. Air Mobility Command activated the first active associate unit—the 30th Airlift Squadron—at Cheyenne in July 2006 to work under the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing. Col. Harold Reed, 153rd AW commander, said, “On any given day, we can better utilize our airframes because we have the added manpower of the 30th personnel.” Late last year, the Wyoming ANG declared that the newly formed active associate unit was deployable months early. The unique force has deployed for various exercises and real-world missions into hostile zones, providing a range of opportunities for young active airmen that they rarely get to experience in the active force, according to SMSgt. Rick McKean, 30th AS enlisted operations superintendent. (Read more about “High Plains Lifters.”)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.