LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — With talk of manning at only 80 percent across the entire Air Force, having to do more with less sounds like a daunting task, but with Total Force Integration, it doesn’t have to be.
The 944th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base is integrating with active-duty units to improve training and reap other benefits as well.
“TFI is not a foreign concept,” said Chief Master Sgt. Warren Massey, 944th FW specialist section chief. “The heavy community has been doing this for years. What TFI does is bring stability to an ever-evolving and dynamic organization, meaning, we as the Reserve act as a constant. We bring a vast knowledge of aircraft systems and years of experience to the fight.”
Reservists are spread out across the maintenance units to better aid the active-duty Airmen to complete the mission.
“We are currently embedded with almost every facet of maintenance on the F-16 and F-35,” Massey said. “We have personnel working side-by-side with our active-duty Air Force brothers and sisters daily. This is a remarkable achievement. I have been in the TFI business for over 10 years now. The experience is priceless, and our Air Force is stronger because of it. Each person is an invaluable member on our team and has unique qualities we depend on.”
Staff Sgt. Natalie Semensow, 944th FW, Detachment 1 nondestructive inspection craftsman, explained how reservists normally serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year and only earn retirement points during their time. However, reservists on orders receive benefits like medical and base allowance for housing while also becoming more proficient at the job.
“The reservists that are here on orders want to be here,” Semensow said. “It’s a privilege to be on orders.”
Semensow expressed reservists choose to be here and typically have families in the area. This increases morale and helps the unit.
“I believe we can spread the feeling to the active-duty Airmen we work with,” Semensow said. “We permeate and spread our excitement to learn the jobs we do, especially on orders, because we have more time to do so.”