Total Force integration took another step forward earlier this month in Alaska where Air Force Reserve Command maintainers began training their Air National Guard counterparts in the care and handling of the F-22s at Elmendorf Air Force Base. On Jan. 13, Reservists from Elmendorf’s 477th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron trained 13 airmen of the Air Guard’s 176th Wing from nearby Kulis Air National Guard Base on F-22 take-off and recovery procedures. The training was to prepare for the eventuality of a Raptor being unable to land at Elmendorf and having to divert to Kulis as an alternate airfield. While some of the Guardsmen have a background in dealing with similar situations with C-130 and C-17 transports, this was their first hands-on experience with the F-22, said SMSgt. Kerry James, the lead Guardsman at the training. They received detailed, step-by-step instruction to ensure safety of the maintainers and pilot. Another training session is scheduled for March. Total Force integration is a key component of USAF’s future basing plans. (USAF report by A1C David Carbajal)
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.