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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 10/7/2007 3:47:34 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/7/2007 3:48:51 PM EST by 2A373]
Arfcom has a member assigned to the 302 FS.


www.elmendorf.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123070616

Air Force Reserve stands up first F-22 Raptor unit

10/3/2007 - ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- In a day centered on the unit's fabled heritage, with ties to the Tuskegee Airmen, the Air Force Reserve officially activated the first F-22 Raptor unit, the 477th Fighter Group, Tuesday.

The activation formally gave the Reserve a valuable part of America's newest and most sophisticated weapons system.

"This is a most wonderful day for the Air Force Reserve Command because we have officially stood up our first F-22 associate squadron and its group," said Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley, Air Force Reserve Command commander. "I'm really proud of this day. This will be something that our command will be proud of for 50, 60, 70 years I believe."

With several members of the Tuskegee Airmen on hand, the past was there to witness the future of fighter aviation, the 477th FG and the 302nd Fighter Squadron, which both have Tuskegee lineage. Having the Tuskegee Airmen present added to this momentous day.

"It's priceless, there's no other way to put it," General Bradley said. "This is their heritage; we're standing on their shoulders. We're very proud to have their name and heritage in our 477th Fighter Group and 302nd Fighter Squadron."

For Col. Eric Overturf, 477th FG commander, having the unit stood up means it's time to get to work.

"Now we can go from the planning phase to the execution phase, the group is officially stood up so we can start acting like a group and the first thing we're going to do is start flying airplanes, start fixing airplanes and make the mission happen," Colonel Overturf said.

Now that the 477th is officially stood up, the goal is to get down to business. One of the top priorities for the unit's leadership is to continue attracting highly qualified candidates to man the unit.

The 477th FG currently has approximately 35 people assigned to the unit. By the end of this fiscal year that number should be 163, with incremental rises the next four years bringing the groups total to 426 by fiscal 2012. Ultimately, the group is scheduled to have 160 air reserve technicians and 266 traditional reservists.

"Right now we're right where we want to be," Colonel Overturf said. "We've got a lot of great people that are applying for the mission."

Colonel Overturf said he is going to focus his efforts on filling the almost 270 traditional reservists positions. He knows it will be a challenge, but thinks bringing in quality individuals with high standards will bring in other like minded individuals, filling the unit the way he wants it.

One such person is Tech. Sgt. Jessica Hennig, who won the Thomas N. Barnes Most Outstanding Crew Chief in the U.S. Air Force award in 2004, back when she was on active duty.

Sergeant Hennig was a reservist at Langley Air Force Base, Va., when she began hearing about the 477th FG. The only problem was her husband was on active duty and she thought convincing him to join the Reserve would be a daunting task.

"When I heard about this unit, I kept working on my husband to switch over to the Reserve," she said. "Because I was already a reservist, I was able to show him how the Reserve worked.

"The Reserve command is a family. The feeling is not just about your job, but the people and the unit you work for. It's so cool that you can now be an F-22 crew chief in the Air Force Reserve."

So once she convinced her husband it would be a good move for the couple, the 477th FG not only gained a top-notch crew chief in her, they also gained their first fully qualified F-22 crew chief in her husband, Tech. Sgt. Paul Hennig.

"I took this job because it was a great opportunity and I love every minute of it," said Sergeant Paul Hennig. "I think the biggest thing I will take from this year from now will be standing up this unit. We're all so excited about it. My wife's here with me. We're a team."

Because the 477th FG is an associate unit with the 3rd Wing, having a strong work relationship with the active duty is integral to the unit's success.

"Our relationship with active duty is great," Sergeant Paul Hennig said. "Conversion training is totally integrated. We train active duty guys alongside reservists and it's the same for them. We're all one team here."

While the unit is leaps and bounds from where it started, they are still growing together and learning what it takes to start a unit from scratch. No one knows what birth of a new unit feels like more than Chief Master Sgt. Charles Shaw, who was one of the 477th's initial three members. Chief Shaw came to the 477th FG from AFRC.

"Everything that you usually have at a unit wasn't here," Chief Shaw said. "We have to build programs that didn't exist. Everything you take for granted, you have to build. It's been a huge challenge and tremendous learning experience."

Chief Shaw said the Airmen the unit is getting are super and there are many more just like them applying.

"The guys we're bringing in don't just want to be the example, they want to set the standard," he said. "They are young and energetic and want to learn about the aircraft."

Lt. Col. Michael Wood, 477th FG deputy chief of maintenance, another of the original three to start the unit, said that while there were many challenges to starting from scratch, there are also some advantages.

"We're hiring exactly the kind of people we want with the future in mind," Colonel Wood said, " What that's done for us is show the 3rd Wing first hand the quality and character of the people we're bringing in and are going to bring to the fight."

For the Tuskegee Airmen on hand, having this new unit with the Air Force's newest fighter is an honor in itself.

"The highlight of this is the continuation of our legacy we started in the '40s," said retired Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Robert Ashby. "To have our unit flying the newest most sophisticated aircraft in the world and adopt the unit here is truly outstanding."





Hi-res
Link Posted: 10/7/2007 5:31:19 PM EST
New wallpaper! Nice.
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 1:22:42 PM EST
The 302d was assigned here at Luke the last I recall, but may have been BRAC'd out from the 944th., dunno. But, totally awsome on the FA-22s!
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 1:55:28 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 2:06:33 PM EST
It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need, but until we get 750 F-22s I say screw 'em.
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 2:07:46 PM EST

Originally Posted By brasidas:
It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need, but until we get 750 F-22s I say screw 'em.


F Yeah!
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 7:37:56 PM EST
so is it flown to the base direct from the factory? or are they delivered in the belly of a larger plane or something to that effect?
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 7:39:07 PM EST

Originally Posted By HommieDaKlown:
so is it flown to the base direct from the factory? or are they delivered in the belly of a larger plane or something to that effect?


Under their own power.
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 7:39:09 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/10/2007 7:39:34 PM EST by SmilingBandit]
Cat based double tap.
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 7:40:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/10/2007 7:41:11 PM EST by Chairborne]
Reserve associate unit, that is.



We've got one of those, they couldn't maintain their way out of a wet paper bag without us holding their hands.
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 7:41:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/10/2007 7:41:28 PM EST by Cypher214]

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:
Cat based double tap.


Does someone have the job of flying the Raptors to their destination, or do the pilots come pick them up?
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 7:45:23 PM EST

Originally Posted By Cypher214:

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:
Cat based double tap.


Does someone have the job of flying the Raptors to their destination, or do the pilots come pick them up?

It's been almost 40 years since my jet rolled off the line, but if new deliveries are anything like overhaul work the receiving unit sends a crew down to pick up the jet.
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 7:51:54 PM EST

Originally Posted By Chairborne:
Reserve associate unit, that is.



We've got one of those, they couldn't maintain their way out of a wet paper bag without us holding their hands.


Not this one. Quite the opposite actually. We've had to prove ourselves to a lot of people. Everyone thought we were going to be the "weak link.
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 7:54:47 PM EST

Originally Posted By sledhead907:

Originally Posted By Chairborne:
Reserve associate unit, that is.



We've got one of those, they couldn't maintain their way out of a wet paper bag without us holding their hands.


Not this one. Quite the opposite actually. We've had to prove ourselves to a lot of people. Everyone thought we were going to be the "weak link.


I hope that turns out to be the case. Our associate wing is weak as hell, they are really nothing but a pain in our ass and a couple of extra letters on the airplanes. The all Reserve guys from places like March seem to do just fine though. They don't have active duty to lean on though, so they have to be worth a shit. Since you guys used to own your own aircraft you probably have your shit together more than most long time associate units.
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 7:58:29 PM EST

Originally Posted By sledhead907:
Obviously I'm late to the party...but, this is my unit, and I was one of the first two hired on for the job. It's been a long, slow process getting the squadron ready to stand up, and learn a new jet, but it's been worth it. We are setting the squadron up how we want, hiring the people that we like, and making it so that we are a "family". So I'm going to go ahead and bump this, and include some pictures. If anyone has any questions, please ask!

2A373, thanks for posting this! I have been in the middle of a move and have been without the net for a week.



i64.photobucket.com/albums/h179/airforcedude23/038.jpg

i64.photobucket.com/albums/h179/airforcedude23/037.jpg

i64.photobucket.com/albums/h179/airforcedude23/033.jpg

i64.photobucket.com/albums/h179/airforcedude23/008.jpg

All pictures taken prior to the ceremony, cameras authorized.

heaven forbid some poor bastard spills something on the floor.... yeesh. lol
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 7:59:10 PM EST

Originally Posted By HommieDaKlown:
so is it flown to the base direct from the factory? or are they delivered in the belly of a larger plane or something to that effect?


The first F-22 built was test flown a few times at Lockheed's Marietta, Ga plant and then had it's wings and verticals removed so it could fit inside a C-5 so it could be flown to Edwards AFB, CA. I don't know why they did this.

All the rest of them have been flown under their own power to their assigned bases.


Picture of ship 1 which I can proudly say I worked on some while I was part of the F-22 test program.




Link Posted: 10/10/2007 8:13:30 PM EST
Can anyone explain to me why Raptors are assigned to reserve units? From my naive point of view with no military experience it seems a waste of our shiny new hardware, especially since we are buying so few of them.
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 8:18:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By Thread_Racer:
Can anyone explain to me why Raptors are assigned to reserve units? From my naive point of view with no military experience it seems a waste of our shiny new hardware, especially since we are buying so few of them.


They're not. Every single Raptor will be assigned to an active duty unit. "Associate" units are Reserve or Guard units who "share" airplanes with the Active Duty guys. In other words, they have a handful of maintainers in the units, and their pilots get to play with all the newest whiz-bang hardware, but they don't really own the aircraft.
Link Posted: 10/10/2007 8:22:47 PM EST

Originally Posted By Thread_Racer:
Can anyone explain to me why Raptors are assigned to reserve units? From my naive point of view with no military experience it seems a waste of our shiny new hardware, especially since we are buying so few of them.


Many "reserve" units have a percentage of their people working full time, year round.

It probably has something to do with the closeness to NK, China, Former USSR, that it would be good to have an F-22 unit there.

Plus reserve units are less likely than full time USAF to get deployed somewhere else.
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 9:54:02 PM EST
height=8
Originally Posted By Chairborne:
They're not. Every single Raptor will be assigned to an active duty unit. "Associate" units are Reserve or Guard units who "share" airplanes with the Active Duty guys. In other words, they have a handful of maintainers in the units, and their pilots get to play with all the newest whiz-bang hardware, but they don't really own the aircraft.


height=8
Originally Posted By sledhead907:
About 25% of the total work force for the Elmendorf F-22 program will be comprised of full time reservists. We think of ourselves as active duty. We follow the same rules, wear the same uniform, take orders from the same people (mostly) and work just as hard, if not harder. If you came and took a look around Elmendorf's flight line, you wouldn't be able to tell whose' who.


Thanks for clearing that up guys. It seems "Reserve" just means something different in the Air Force than the rest of the world. sledhead, I apologize if it seemed like I was questioning the professionalism of the reserve units. I know you guys work very hard to defend the rest of us and I thank you for it. I was under the mistaken impression that Reserve equipment is not used very often and worried that brand new $140 million planes were going to waste.
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 9:55:49 PM EST
The Washington Air National Guard will be the first to stand up Page Two!
Link Posted: 10/11/2007 10:10:26 PM EST
Too bad this reactivated unit isn't getting their own squadron of Raptors (by own, I mean having their own dedicated aircraft, not simply flying and working on aircraft belonging to another unit). It'd be cool to see 18-24 of these bad babies sporting the red tails made famous by the Tuskegee Airmen.

Sigh. We've gotta budget more money for more of those fighters. It makes me sick to see the 33rd Fighter Wing, which has long flown F-15C's moving to the role of a training wing flying F-35's. It also seems like some other units, such as the 18th Wing in Japan should be getting at least a squadron of Raptors. I mean this is a critically important unit located in a very strategic area. But evidently they will not be getting any either.

Geez. I can understand that we will probably never buy the full 750 we originally planned for. But damnit, I know we can at least buy 300 of them, enough to get at least one or more Raptor squadrons into each active duty fighter wing that currently flies the F-15C. I think 300 would probably be a sufficient number considering their abilities. Pair them up with F-15C's using updated AESA radars and the F-18 Super Hornets of the USN and you'd have a sizable and lethal force, capable of dominating the air even if we find ourselves fighting in multiple theaters. The thought of only taking 180 seems criminal to me and pisses me off beyond words.
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