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Scott Air Force Base's Air Refueling Unit generates Total Force Association success

  • Published
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

With an increased emphasis on Total Force Assocation, today’s military leaders are tasked with finding ways to accomplish the mission, while increasing efficiency and productivity.

The Air Force has done, and continues to pursue this, by mixing the active duty force with reserve and guard assets to achieve maximum results with limited resources.

One example at Scott AFB is the Associate Partnership that the 375th Air Mobility Wing has with the Illinois Air National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing in executing the KC-135 refueling mission.

“We are one Air Force; we’re not going to be operationally successful any other way,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Mark A. Welsh III, referencing Total Force Integration in a March report to Congress.

Since 2009, active duty aircrew members with 906th Air Refueling Squadron have been administratively assigned to the 375th AMW but operationally aligned and fly under the direction of the 126th ARW.

By giving the guard unit access to full-time, active duty pilots, maintainers and support personnel, the 126th ARW gains improved global mission capabilities, while the 906th ARS can take advantage of the nine KC-135 aircrafts owned by the Illinois ANG.

Through these TFA efforts, the “Mighty 906th” has supported the ANG wing with 3,942 hours flown and more than 10 million pounds of fuel offloaded just within the past year alone.

The most beneficial aspect of integration between units is enabling the Airmen to strengthen their skillset and promote a more ready and capable Air Force in the future.

According to Capt. Kevin Reilly, 906th ARS executive officer, the wealth of knowledge available to young Airmen at Scott AFB is immeasurable because of the partnership.

“For example, the cross flow of ideas between civilian companies and military aviation has been enormously beneficial to the safety and efficiency of aviation operations in general, but has typically been limited to large organizational interactions,” Reilly said.

“In the 126th ARW, this cross flow of ideas happens on a very personal level. For example, a young 906th co-pilot has opportunities to fly with Illinois Air Guard pilots who also work for FedEx, American Airlines, Delta, UPS, etc.”

After seeing the results of close cooperation between the two units, Airmen at Scott AFB are firm advocates of the benefits of TFA.

During the refueling missions, the process of properly utilizing all the resources of the Air Force and exercising shared mission ownership is demonstrated on a daily basis.

While working toward a common goal and cooperation in the military aren’t new ideas, the mentality to actively focus on the TFA approach is a more recent concept.

When cultivating attitudes of younger Airmen, Master Sgt. Warren Weldon, 906th ARS boom operator, emphasized the advantages of having an open mind.

“I recommend being open to all ideas as Total Force Association concept continues to mature.

“We must remain diplomatic and understanding to the needs of our Air National Guard forces as we take advantage of every training opportunity we can, and so we are ready for the next challenge,” Weldon said.