What does an Air Force Reservist do?

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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2019
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An Air Force reservist is a member of the United States military on call in case of a national emergency or should other need arise. While the organization was originally developed to serve alongside the Air Force, over the years since its formation, reservists have taken on a number of duties that are their sole responsibility. This includes fighting fires and providing relief from natural disasters.

Many Air Force reservists serve part time, and hold down other civilian jobs at the same time. Like members of the regular Air Force, they are often trained in piloting different types of aircraft as well as other related jobs in technology, mechanics, and communications. There is also a basic training course that those new to the military undergo, in which recruits learn physical and social skills that will help them serve efficiently.


A unique option available to the Air Force reservist that is not a part of regular Air Force duties is aerial fire fighting. Military personnel in aircraft equipped for fire fighting are often called in where there are wildfires burning that other fire fighting units have not been able to control. Also unique to Air Force reservists is the chance to become active in weather reconnaissance. Called the Hurricane Hunters, these pilots and scientists are tasked with gathering data about storms that strike the United States. Essential in predicting weather patterns, they feed civilians vital information about when a storm is going to hit and where, allowing time for evacuations, if needed.

Other duties of the Air Force reservist overlap with those in the Air Force. Reservists provide medical transportation, aid with the refueling of aircraft, act as intelligence agents, and control various types of remote surveillance equipment. There are several highly specialized units that the reservist can also opt to enter; pararescue units are reservists who parachute into enemy territory to extract individuals who have been trapped behind the lines.

At Air Force bases around the world, reservists are often responsible for security. On base, an Air Force reservist can also be responsible for overseeing the transport, packing, and storage of cargo, directing intelligence operations, conducting briefings, and interpreting data that comes in from a wide variety of sources. An Air Force reservist can also be put in charge of stations monitoring the skies over a nation, or be part of a team that keeps the aircraft of the Air Force functioning at their highest potential.


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