Total Force Integration succeeds at Whiteman AFB
By Airman 1st Class Jessica Donnelly, 131st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 31, 2009
Lambert IAP -- Since the time of its activation in October 2008, the 131st Bomb Wing has been working hand-in-hand with the 509th BW to ensure the combat capability of the B-2 stealth bomber as part of the Air Force's Total Force Integration initiative.
As part of this TFI, Missouri Air National Guardsmen, Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Schneider, has been selected to lead the aircrew flight equipment section, assuming a leadership role for both active duty and guard members in the Operations Group at Whiteman AFB.
With this initiative, the Air National Guard and the active duty Air Force work together each day at all levels of command, explained Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey A. Schneider, 509th/131st Operations Group Air Crew Flight Equipment superintendent.
"In every organization there are two areas that work harmoniously, one is administrative control and one is operational control, I have been selected to manage the operational control over both the guard and active duty," said Chief Schneider.
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michael J. Klintworth, 509th Operations Group superintendent explained, a guard member was chosen for this position of leadership because the 509th wants to put the right Airmen in the right positions. Guard members do not make Permanent Change of Station moves so they are able to bring stability and more than 20 years of experience to the position, which is a huge bonus to the mission.
"As you can imagine, the TFI concept brings a new set of challenges for the Air National Guard as technicians, traditional Guardsmen and active duty personnel work together on a daily basis," Chief Schneider added.
The TFI is working well at Whiteman because everyone is being open-minded and relationship building has been key, said Chief Klintworth.
"I believe we are having great success because no matter if the Airman is active duty or guard, we are fighting the same fight," he added.
"The 131st BW and the 509th BW have become true partners within the TFI construct," said Col. Robert L. Leeker, 131st BW commander. "It has taken an incredible amount of work for both of us to come together and to be as successful as we are and as we will continue to be."
This is a historical time for the 131st BW as the TFI has created an unparalleled relationship with the 509th BW.
"They have overwhelmingly welcomed us with open arms," said Chief Schneider about the active duty's acceptance of the ANG. "Now that they see what we bring to the fight, we are earning their respect."
Chief Schneider explained, as the 131st continues to integrate, we may see additional guard members put into positions to manage functional areas within the 509th, which will ensure our nation's defense is protected at a moments notice.
"Our success hinges on our ability to openly and honestly communicate with each other to make sure we understand each other's differences that are inherent in either the active or reserve component," said Colonel Leeker.