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USAF Reserve unit to join Team Tyndall

44th Fighter Group shield. (Courtesy graphic)

44th Fighter Group shield. (Courtesy graphic)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 325th Fighter Wing marks the transition to Air Combat Command from Air Education and Training Command Oct. 1, a move which adds additional personnel and aircraft to the operation of the installation.

The 44th Fighter Group, Detachment 2 from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., is one unit to be added to Team Tyndall. It is a U.S. Air Force Reserve unit and is schedule to operate as a support function to the new combat-coded F-22 Raptor squadron standing up in early 2013.

"The 44th FG is coming in to support the operational F-22 combat-coded unit that will be standing up here next spring," said Col. Scott Crogg, 44th FG, Det. 2 commander. "We will absorb the existing flying training unit mission. There are six Reservists who are here already flying in the 43rd Fighter Squadron and we will absorb them also when we make the transition to ACC. So, in the long run, we will support operations, flying training, and maintenance in the combat side."

The 44th FG is named for the historic 44th FG, and the 301st Fighter Squadron derives its lineage from a squadron of Tuskegee Airmen. They are now merged into one unit.

"We stood up in April 2010 at Holloman as the 44th FG," Colonel Crogg said. "We had a great ceremony with World War II veterans from the original Group in attendance and a lot of the Tuskegee Airmen came out too."

About 250 members will comprise the 44th FG and reside in and around Tyndall. Full-time Reserve are still referred to as Reservists, but traditional Reservists serve one weekend a month, two weeks a year. Reserve personnel assigned to the 44th FG specifically, are nearly 25 percent full-time.

"We won't own the aircraft. It will be a classic association, Total Force Initiative, with active duty aircraft. Meaning, Reserve units, instead of having our own airplanes and our own units, we actually embed as a percentage of the active duty," he said. "Typically, between 20 and 35 percent of the entire active duty mission will be Reservists and there is a lot of synergy out of that because Reservists bring a lot of additional continuity and experience."

Tyndall officials report the new unit is essential to the success of Tyndall's mission and integral to building an effective team designed to support combatant commanders in theater.

"The beddown of an operational F-22 mission at Tyndall requires the beddown of a total force team," said Col. Charles Corcoran, 325th Operations Group commander. "The unit is an active duty lead with a Reserve associate component. We are building that total force team here and we need both the active and Reserve pieces in place to accomplish the mission.

In addition to providing support for the F-22 squadron, the 44th FG will have approximately one-third of the T-38 Talon mission here, which provide the Raptor adversary support.

"Primarily, we will provide flightline support for aircraft," said Colonel Crogg. "Our biggest impact is going to be in maintenance, but as it turns out, we'll have a fairly significant portion of the pilot population also."

Colonel Corcoran agrees pilots and maintenance are essential, but additional members will also contribute.

"The mission we are charted to accomplish will not succeed without the 44th," he said. "They bring pilots, maintenance professionals, medics, and operations support personnel, among others. We simply can't accomplish the mission without both the active duty and Reserve Airmen."