926th Wing gets the green light for Active Association

  • Published
  • By Natalie Stanley
  • 926th Wing

Air Combat Command published a Total Force Integration Record of Decision on July 15, stating the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, will become an Air Force Reserve Command Active Association, officially setting up the 926th Wing to take responsibility for the aircraft and leading the squadron.

“The Air Force Reserve provides essential manpower and capabilities, enabling rapid global response, operational surge, and long term operational sustainment,” said Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, Commander, Air Force Reserve. “This strategic depth is critical to our national defense.”

The aggressor squadron operates F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, whose primary mission is to fly against the combat air forces, joint and allied aircrews preparing them for tomorrow’s engagements.

The decision was officially made April 3 by TFI leaders Gen. Mike Holmes, Air Combat Command commander, Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice, Air National Guard director, and Scobee, during an ACC-ARC TFI round table.

The round table was held via a teleconference due to COVID-19 mitigation requirements.

“I believe the aggressor mission is ideally suited to a TFI construct, and the 926th Wing is well-positioned to use our experience and talent to increase our role in the aggressor mission which supports high-end training and testing,” said Col. Sean Carpenter, 926th WG commander. “We’re humbled, but proud, to accept this opportunity to continue proving the worth of TFI.”

The current decision gives a requirement for the transition and builds on discussions for the intent of the aggressor mission that began during a previous ACC-ARC TFI round table in September 2015.

Since the 2015 decision stating the intention for the aggressor mission to convert from a Classic Association to an Active Association, the 926th WG has been working at the local level to prepare for the conversion.

“We are already doing what we need to do so we are ready and set up for success,” said Lt. Col. George Cole, 926th Wing, deputy commander for maintenance. “We are hiring people, we are working with AFRC on funded billets, and we are putting resilient leaders in key positions in the AMUs [aircraft maintenance units] to get them trained and help them learn how to run the programs.”

This decision is another milestone in the TFI concept that aims to improve the Air Force's ability to conduct its mission through the sharing of resources between active and reserve components, including aircraft, crews, maintenance, and support.

“We are constantly evolving, the push is always to do more TFI, more integration,” said Cole. “The Reserve helps with the continuity, the stability across key positions, and the corporate knowledge we gain from working the same jets year after year and having people really turn into the subject matter experts, not just on this base, but Air Force wide.”

The 926th WG is working through the TFI round table process to establish force structure and ultimate aircraft possession milestones.

“It’s a historic moment for the 926th,” said Cole. “It’s an exciting time for us, it allows us to sink our teeth into a mission and call it our own.”