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AF Reserve celebrates its 70th year of service

446th Airlift Wing Commander

Published: 03:00PM April 26th, 2018

U.S. Air Force Photo

B-24 Liberators assigned to the 446th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force during a bombing raid over Germany in 1945.

April marks the start of warmer weather and a historical milestone for the Air Force Reserve.

On April 14, the Air Force Reserve celebrated its 70th birthday.

Our heritage dates back to the National Defense Act of 1916, when the need for a standby force lead to the creation of the Federal Reserve. The Air Force Reserve was officially established April 14, 1948, when President Truman transferred the Army Air Corp Reserve to the Air Force.

Throughout our history, the Air Force Reserve has always been there to answer the nation’s call. For 70 years, brave men and women have voluntarily left behind their families and jobs to serve their country with honor and courage.

The 446th Airlift Wing was first activated in the Air Force Reserve in 1948 as the 446th Troop Carrier Group at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. In 1973, the wing became part of Team McChord as an associate unit.

Throughout our 70 year history as part of the Air Force Reserve, the wing has significantly contributed to providing airlift support to humanitarian operations, the National Science Foundation Antarctic mission and many worldwide conflicts.

As a whole, the Air Force Reserve were essential during the Vietnam War, providing strategic airlift as well as close air support, counterinsurgency, tactical mobility, interdiction, rescue and recovery, intelligence, medical, maintenance, aerial port, and air superiority.

The Reserve also had vital roles in humanitarian and emergency aid missions in following years, such as the return of American students from Grenada in 1983, aerial-refueling during the El Dorado Canyon raid on Libyan-sponsored terrorists in 1986 and Operation Just Cause, which ousted Panama’s General Noriega in 1990.

Recently, the Rainier Wing supported many exercises designed to challenge our Aeromedical Evacuation contingency deployment abilities ranging from base infrastructure buildup to full aeromedical evacuation operations. Additionally, our members deployed to 12 different countries in support of missions throughout the world. Our airlift operations included transporting 7,900 people, 16 million pounds of cargo in more than 500 missions.

As Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller, Air Force Reserve Command commander, and a former member of our Rainier Wing, wrote, the Air Force Reserve is now increasingly relied on for steady state readiness — from flying airlift channel, firefighting, aerial spray and hurricane hunter missions, to providing highly skilled medical and aeromedical personnel. Our role as a strategic force held in “reserve” evolved into an operational Reserve force with the most advanced weapons systems and lethal Airmen.

Today, we fly in formation as one Air Force. There is no distinction between active, Guard and Reserve Airmen. Our nation relies on us, not only for readiness, but as an operational force providing critical capabilities both home and abroad.

We are privileged to defend this great nation alongside our joint partners and allies. We have always been, and will continue to be there to provide combat-ready forces to fly, fight and win.

The character of today’s Air Force Reserve reflects proudly on those brave Airmen who came before us and enable us to stand today, indistinguishable from the active component in readiness and capability.

Through every operation and mission, we are always there to provide combat-ready forces to fly, fight and win.