We are The 908th: The 908th Operations Group

  • Published
  • By Bradley J. Clark
  • 908th Airlift Wing

(Editor’s note: “We are The 908th” is a 16 part series, running biweekly, detailing the workings of the various units in the 908th Airlift Wing. This is part two, giving insight on the 908th Operations Group.)

The 908th Operations Group is the flying organization under the command of the 908th Airlift Wing, the only U.S. Air Force Reserve Command wing in the state of Alabama.

The group has the only flying mission stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base and currently operates a fleet of nine C-130H2 Hercules cargo aircraft. Known as the "workhorse of the Air Force," this plane can carry 42,000 pounds of cargo and can fly up to 386 mph with a range of 5,200 miles.

The 908th Operations Group is the echelon of command, and the conduit between, the 908th Airlift Wing and the group’s subordinate units; the 357th Airlift Squadron, the 908th Operations Support Squadron, and the 908th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

Commanded by Lt. Col. Diane Patton, the group’s mission is to provide operational combat capability anytime, anywhere with a vision of tactical legacy, leading tomorrows fight. While most military organizations have priorities, the ops group instead has, “guiding principles and values that align our organizational vision across the three subordinate squadrons,” explains Patton. “The guiding principles are: manage risk, maintain discipline, fiscal accountability, and strengthen [our] community.”

The operations group has more than 225 members in and under its command, ranging from 170 traditional reservists down to a single civilian contractor, all of which play a role in enabling the group to accomplish its mission. A vast majority of those members belong to the three squadrons under the group. The group has approximately 10 people that work directly for it, and eight of them are fulltime members.

The 10 members who work directly for the group can be found in two different sections, either the Commanders Support Staff or the Group Standards and Evaluations section.

“The Commander’s Support Staff provides program oversight and compliance with Air Force and DoD policies,” said Patton. “They advise group and squadron leadership and ensure commander’s guidance is clearly articulated across functional lines. They provide task management oversight, coordination authority, and other staffing synchronization. Specific roles and responsibilities include Executive Officer, Resource Advisor, Unit Deployment Manager, Group Training Manager, and Career Assistance Advisor.”

According to Patton, the Standards and Evaluations section manages the aircrew standardization and evaluation program, which provides commanders the tools to validate the mission readiness and effectiveness of unit flying. In other words, “they are responsible for creating, updating, reviewing, and maintaining documents in the flight evaluation folders, developing and distributing local flight crew information files, publishing electronic flight bag updates, and administering aircrew testing and flight evaluations to ensure compliance with operational and training directives,” explained Patton.

The group has had quite a few recent accomplishments.

According to Patton, arguably the most major accomplishment for 2021 is “the deployment of more than 80 members supporting three combatant commands across the globe.” Another major accomplishment for the group allows them to have a successful deployment; they developed an innovative tactical week, or “Tac Week” construct every month leading up to the deployment.

“The Tac Week focused on near-peer competition and working in a contested, degraded, or operationally limited environment,” explained Patton. “Major Bryan Powell, the Operations Group’s chief of weapons and tactics, led the 22nd Air Force Combat Planning Council’s 2021session on integrated mission sorties and previously provided input to Air Mobility Command’s desired learning objectives for the Mobility Air Force community. The concept of integrated mission sorties evolve aircrew proficiencies to develop increasingly integrated mission planning between Tactics, Intel, and Training, and practical employment and exercise of mission command to ensure dynamic, flexible, and resilient operations in disrupted environments.”

The next three parts of “We are The 908th,” will focus on the three squadrons that fall under the 908th Operations Group; the 357th Airlift Squadron, the 908th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, and the 908th Operations Support Squadron.


Located at Maxwell Air Force Base and operating a fleet of nine C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft, the 908th is Alabama’s only Air Force Reserve wing. The wing has approximately 1,200 Reserve Citizen Airmen, serving in more than 20 career fields, with Air Reserve Technicians, civilian employees and Reservists on active duty tours conducting day-to-day operations. Over the spring and summer of 2021, the 908th will engage in the largest deployment in wing history - sending more than 300 Airmen to locations around the globe.