The Air Force Reserve celebrated its 60th anniversary April 14. Originally conceived as a pool of replacements during wartime mobilization, the Reserve has become more and more integrated with active duty forces to support missions at home and abroad, and more integral to the success of those missions. “We are more than ever essential to the Air Force’s ability to fly, fight, and win,” Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley, commander of Air Force Reserve Command, said in a release marking the event. “To meet future requirements, we will continue to build and sustain this viable force of an operationally engaged Reserve—a force in use every day.” Indeed more than 1,400 reservists honored the special day from their deployed locations fighting the war on terror in US Central Command’s area of responsibility that includes Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Horn of Africa. “The Air Force Reserve provides an indispensable contribution to airpower,” said Lt. Gen. Gary North, Air Forces Central commander. Col. Bill Forshey, the senior air reserve component advisor for AFCENT added: “The real success story is you cannot tell the reservist from the active-duty member at first glance. You have to ask them where they are from. Then they will tell you they are reservists.” (Includes AFCENT report by SSgt. Shawn J. Jones)
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.