Combat-Proven Readiness for 75 Years … Transforming for the Future!

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. John Healy


Citizen Airmen,

April 14th marks the 75th birthday of the United States Air Force Reserve, when the Army Air Corps Reserve was transferred to the Air Force.

For the last 75 years, the Air Force Reserve has been Ready Now. We have provided the surge capacity for our nation in every conflict. Beginning with the Korean War, more than 146,000 Air Force Reservists were mobilized to answer our nation’s call. Air Reservists, most being World War II veterans, provided the surge capacity and experience that proved to be invaluable to the war effort.

Another example of the Air Force Reserve standing ready to support and defend the nation was during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Air Reservists were active throughout the theater from the beginning, providing the strategic and tactical airlift to shuttle personnel and equipment that helped set up the operational left hook maneuver in Iraq.

At the turn of the century, our nation called upon the Air Force Reserve yet again to respond to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We were ready to support. Air Force Reserve F-16 fighters and KC-135 tanker crews flew combat air patrols and air refueling sorties to defend the homeland.

As the Global War on Terrorism came to an end in 2021, our nation needed airlift support for Operation Allies Refuge. The Air Force Reserve was ready to transport at-risk Afghan civilians and U.S. embassy employees during the final days of the War in Afghanistan.

Crew members from the 349th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base, California, flew an active-component C-17 into Kabul as part of a Total Force crew. Within 24 hours, the Air Force Reserve generated 13 ready aircrews to assist with the evacuation. After 72 hours, that number grew to 88 crews, consisting solely of volunteers, along with 36 aircraft.

Desert Storm, 9/11 and Operation Allies Refuge are only a few examples from our history that highlight how the Air Force Reserve has been a Ready Now force from the beginning.

Most recently, the Air Force Reserve demonstrated its surge capacity in responding to the devastating earthquakes that hit both Turkey and Syria on February 6th. AFRC received a time-critical request from the Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to execute a special assignment airlift mission, moving USAID-sponsored urban search and rescue personnel and equipment from the Los Angeles Fire Search and Rescue Team. Within 10 hours, the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, March Air Reserve Base, California, stood up Team March and was wheels up to support earthquake relief operations in Turkey and Syria. They provided one C-17 and moved more than 56,000 pounds of cargo, 76 people, and six search and rescue dogs.

I want to conclude by taking a moment to celebrate the career of Chief Master Sgt. Timothy White as he enters retirement. Chief, you have answered the call to serve and have remained ready to ensure American freedoms remain steadfast and true. Your service in the Air Force is the embodiment of our core values, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve with you. You leave a legacy of courage and commitment to our nation, inspiring future generations to follow in your footsteps.

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Air Force Reserve, we could not be here without all of you – Reserve Airmen who remain ready to answer our nation’s call. Your commitment to service and willingness to answer that call deserves to be celebrated, not just for a day but for the whole year-round.

I am both honored and proud to serve with each of you.

Stay Ready!