The Air Force Reserve is an exciting, vibrant part of the nation's defense. It offers similar benefits afforded to those on active duty, with one major addition: the benefit of time. Time to be with your family, time to work at your civilian career, and time to serve your country.
An ideal option for those who have never been in the military and want to participate without being on full-time active duty, the Reserve is also a great way for those in other branches of the military to continue their benefits. Those include educational and retirement programs; starting their civilian careers with the stability of a second paycheck; and continuing the camaraderie and adventure only available through the service.HISTORY
President Harry Truman called for the formation of the Air Force Reserve in 1948, just a year after the United States Air Force was formed. Originally, the Reserve was conceived as a "stand by" force for emergencies. But in February 1997, the Air Force Reserve changed from a Field Operating Agency to a Major Command (MAJCOM). Since then, the 71,500-member force has evolved into the Air Force's Wingman, performing the same missions and working side-by-side on the same equipment.
The Air Force Reserve has evolved into a Major Command of the active duty Air Force, performing many missions in common with the Air Force and others that are unique (specifically, Weather Reconnaissance - the Hurricane Hunters - and Aerial Fire Fighting).
To support those missions, the Reserve deploys 13 different kinds of state-of-the-art aircraft, from the remote-piloted Predator to the specialized C-17 Globemaster III to the new F-22 Raptor fighter.
The Air Force Reserve performs about 20 percent of the work of the Air Force. While the majority of Reservists hold part-time jobs, the number of full-time positions is growing. Full-time roles are performed by Air Reserve Technicians (ARTs) and the Active Guard Reserve (AGR). Another group of experienced Reservists employ their specialized skills as Individual Mobilized Augmentees (IMAs), working tailored schedules at assigned locations.
The Air Force Reserve operates in various locations around the world, including Air Force Bases, Air Reserve Bases and Air Stations, and may also operate from Joint Reserve Bases owned by different branches of the armed forces. While many missions are common to all bases, some have specialized missions, such as the Weather Reconnaissance mission (or Hurricane Hunters), which operates out of Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. Ultimately, the missions assigned to each unit in the Air Force Reserve determine the jobs that are available at a given location.
Given the constantly evolving missions of the Air Force Reserve, there is always a need for officers and enlisted personnel. Members of all branches of the military may join the Air Force Reserve even if they have not served in the Air Force. Those with prior service do not repeat Basic Military Training, usually keep their rank, and are entitled to many other benefits, including low-cost medical insurance. Note that a special need exists for those from the healthcare professions; all physicians and nurses join as officers.
Of course, those with no military experience may also join the Air Force Reserve. Although a high school diploma or GED is not required to join the Reserve, higher ASVAB test scores are required. Parents or guardians must give permission for 17 year-olds.
Important to all Reservists is the Airman's Creed, which captures the heritage as well as the vision of the future of the American Airman.