04-13-2014 03:58 PM
As the Air Force Reserve marks its 66th birthday April 14, this relatively young branch of the U.S. military remains incredibly dynamic. To celebrate this anniversary, USAA casts the spotlight on the men and women who now perform about 20 percent of the work of the Air Force.
Always on Duty
Created in 1948 as a standby force to be called on during wartime and national emergencies, the Air Force Reserve today serves in a unique capacity. Since 1997, the Reserve has been a major command of the Air Force, with reservists working alongside active-duty Air Force members every day of the year.
And while they're still part of the Air Force Reserve, many personnel serve in full-time positions. In all, according to the Air Force Reserve, about 71,000 men and women, at 78 locations throughout the country, dedicate their time and energy to protecting the United States and its people.
Air Force reservists also answer the call to support critical airborne operations in foreign conflicts. The Reserve has been the "Air Force's Wingman" in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and Iraq. In Afghanistan, reservists may ensure the success of refueling and transport missions, render medical aid to wounded airmen, or even explode roadside bombs from remotely piloted aircraft.
Service at Home
While the Air Force Reserve’s service during wartime is essential, the branch's ever-present contributions at home are equally impressive:
- The Air Force Reserve's Hurricane Hunters literally fly in the face of nature's most monstrous storms, providing early warning data that save lives on shore.
- When voracious forest fires threaten to destroy homes or precious parklands, the Reserve's aerial firefighting unit drops liquid relief from the sky.
- Aeromedical evacuation teams care for victims of natural disasters in flying hospital units, rushing them to safety at 20,000 feet.
- Search-and-rescue specialists may pull a wayward hiker from a treacherous cliff face or scoop a stranded sailor from a violent sea.
- Aerial spray units treat millions of acres with insecticides to prevent the spread of diseases after heavy floods.
Air Force reservists serve America. And, as often as not, their bravery and compassion are proved thousands of miles from the nearest battlefield. As it says in the Airman's Creed, they are both sword and shield, sentry and avenger.
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We at USAA commend our citizen airmen for their service and offer hearty congratulations on 66 years of excellence.
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