Long-term orders end for Reserve aircrews

By Sandra Pishner on December 14, 2011

The end is near in so many ways. It's end of the year, the end of America's substantial military presence in Iraq, and the end to Reserve aircrews serving on long-term orders.

Since Reserve aircrew mobilizations began here in 2003, C-17 aircrews from the 446th Airlift Wing have consistently flown missions around the globe in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. To provide this level of support, the Reservists served on military personnel appropriation orders funded by Air Mobility Command.

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, 446th AW aircrews will no longer be placed on long-term MPA orders, according to Lt. Col. Mark Boyd, 446th Operations Support Flight director of operations.

AMC had those crews on call to go when needed, on an as needed basis, according to Boyd. Now, Reserve aircrews will no longer be readily available whenever a mission pops up.

"We're now focusing on predictable opportunities for our members," said Boyd. "Slowly, but surely we're evolving back to a traditional Reserve construct of support. Although the end of long-term orders will mark a significant change from how we've operated the past several years, we're ready for it. We've been moving in this direction for quite some time."

If a Reserve aircrew from McChord Field wants to participate and is not deploying through the expeditionary airlift squadron, they can fly for a specific mission and be on orders for that specific mission.

In addition, the Reserve wing here will continue to partner with the 62nd AW to fulfill the active-duty wing's commitment to support the expeditionary airlift squadron requirements - one in Turkey and one in Southwest Asia.

"Of the number of crews required to go to the EAS, we have committed to provide a percentage of those crews. So we have eight to 10 people embedded in the EAS deployment to help the 62nd with their commitment," said Boyd.

So in the end, the Reserve wing at McChord Field is back at the beginning, supporting the C-17 global mission as they did before mass mobilizations.


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