June 26, 2009 (by SrA Rachel Kocin) - On June 26, 2009, Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, announced the proposed force structure realignment for Fiscal Year 2010. The realignment is an attempt to provide the Air Force a way to use current resources to complete its mission ... to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace.
Holloman has been embracing these changes through the introduction of the F-22A Raptor and the standup of the 44th Fighter Group. The group is currently the 301st Fighter Group, Detachment 1, a tenant of the 16th Fighter Wing, Carswell Naval Air Station and Joint Reserve Base Forth Worth, Texas.
"We fall under them until our official change request is approved by the air staff," said Col. Donald Lindberg, 301st Fighter Wing, Det. 1 commander. "It should be completed sometime by August/September timeframe and we hope to have a ceremony between November and January to stand up the 44th Group and 301st Fighter Squadron."
Although the 44 FG will be new to Holloman, it is rich in Air Force history. The 44th Fighter Wing was a bomber unit in World War II that flew the B-25 Mitchell Bomber and was made famous by its air raids over Europe. The 44 FG's current mission is to develop and retain combat-ready citizen Airmen.
"The Fighter Group concept is an Air Force concept for structure organization and typically you are between a wing and a group like maintenance or operations group," said Colonel Lindberg. "I have a little bit of everything. I'm like the slice of a wing."
The 44th FG will have about 130 full time reservists. Right now the majority of the group is maintenance personnel.
"We are picking up eight to ten people a month and it's an interesting cross section," said Colonel Lindberg. "We will have a mix of reservists, guard and active duty personnel."
In total, the 44 FG will have 330 personnel that will include medical, maintenance, F-22 pilots, unmanned aerial system pilots and support administrative staff. The group will also have its own military personnel flight and finance and will be able to in-process its own personnel.
"We don't have any civil engineer personnel and that's probably the showstopper that differentiates us from a wing," said Colonel Lindberg.
A combination of experience and young talent make the 44 FG an effective force. Flying the F-22A Raptor alongside the 49th Fighter Wing ensures air dominance is present on many fronts.
"As reservists, we're a classic associate with the host generation which is the active duty," Colonel Lindberg said. "So what we are trying to do in the fighter business is bring two good things together and make it great."