• Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee
  • Air Force Reserve Command


"You didn’t just fly coal to Berlin and keep a city from freezing and the lights from going out. You inspired at least one German boy to be like you when he grew up."
- Retired Col. Wolfgang Samuel, USAF, a 13-year-old Berliner during the Airlift

Heroes of the Air Force Reserve,

As we close out 2021, so many of you took part in events that shaped history this year. The efforts of our mobility Airmen to evacuate our most vulnerable allies from Afghanistan were nothing short of remarkable. Even now, Reserve Citizen Airmen are working on the enduring mission of housing our partners, surging to create safe accommodations at bases across the world.

Our performance during those events alone would be enough for any organization to be incredibly proud. These accomplishments were only part of our larger story. As these operations were taking place overseas, the 302nd Airlift Wing had all eight of its aircraft flying aerial firefighting missions here at home for the first time since 2012. The Dixie Fire, which burned nearly one million acres between July 13 and Oct. 25, caused us to have the second busiest fire season in the history of our aerial firefighting mission.

The 302nd was not the only wing engaged in taking care of Americans. The Hurricane Hunters of the 403rd Wing were working nonstop to collect data on several storms, including Hurricane Ida, which rapidly grew in strength and made landfall on Aug. 29, just three days after forming. Because of their efforts, state and local partners were able to prepare and save lives as Ida carved a swath of destruction from Louisiana to New York.

As a team, we were successful in each of these high-impact operations in the midst of a pandemic and tight budgets. The sudden contraction of available funding this summer was caused in part by increased labor costs and higher than anticipated retention in both our military and civilian workforces. Unfortunately, continuing resolutions did not provide funding for additional ART-to-AGR conversions, further delaying our call-to-duty hiring actions.

As a command leadership team, we are acutely aware that these issues impact you and your families. The command chief and I spent significant time engaging both chambers of Congress to ensure they fully fund our RPA and O&M requests. Your wing leadership teams actively participated in budget meetings to streamline communication and maximize transparency.

Over the course of 2021, we rose to meet every challenge with combat power that is accessible, cost-effective and experienced. 2022 will bring its own challenges, some similar to this year and perhaps some novel ones. I remain confident in our ability to face the challenges that next year will bring because of the strength of our culture.

First and foremost, Air Force Reserve culture is rooted in the uniqueness of our organization. Many Reserve Citizen Airmen, myself included, left active duty because the Air Force Reserve was a better fit for our lives, and we were valued for our unique contributions.

For me, joining the Air Force Reserve was like coming home. Secondly, we have a culture built on compliance. As professionals, we must be ready to execute our mission at a moment’s notice. Our nation needs us to lean forward to aggressively maintain our readiness. Our team fully embraces diversity and inclusion, because we cannot face any of the challenges ahead of us without each member serving at their fullest potential.

Finally, we have a culture of volunteerism. Whenever our nation needs the Air Force Reserve, there are so many willing to step forward and answer the call to service.

Our culture flows from our values. From the Berlin Airlift to Operation Allies Refuge, the distinct lines between our values and the ideologies of our adversaries have inspired people the world over. As we begin a new year with so much uncertainty, our resolute commitment to our values will help us persevere through any storm.
I am proud to serve with each of you.

Lieutenant General, USAF
Chief of Air Force Reserve
Commander, Air Force Reserve Command