306th Fighter Squadron activated at 177th Fighter Wing

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Andrew J. Moseley, Public Affairs
  • 177th Fighter Wing

The 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard is the latest installation to receive an active duty squadron, made up of approximately 50 Airmen, as part of the Air Force’s Total Force Integration.

In a ceremony at the 177th, July 8, 2022, the 306th Fighter Squadron, from Air Combat Command’s 495th Fighter Group, 15th Air Force, was activated, marking the 10th and final full fighter squadron association under Air Combat Command’s restructuring “Program Change Request 12-01”.

“Total Force Integration is a critical piece of our nation’s combat readiness," said Col. Derek B. Routt, 177th Fighter Wing commander. “Combining active duty personnel with the 177th Fighter Wing enhances our mission of providing dominant airpower for America.”

The 306th will support the increased maintenance requirements of the 177th’s F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft fleet, bolstering the fleet’s flying combat readiness.

“The 495th Fighter Group’s mission is to produce experienced fighter pilots by leveraging the TFI concept, which relies upon the experience resident within the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve,” said Lt. Col. Anthony M. Mulia, 495th Fighter Group deputy commander. “By embedding active duty (Regular Air Force) pilots, maintenance, and support personnel into Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command Fighter Wings, Air Combat Command gains more experienced fighter pilots. In return, the ANG/AFRC benefit from the infusion of people and flying hours provided by the Regular Air Force.”

This relationship between the Active Duty and Air National Guard is known as an Active Association, where the Active Duty Air Force provides personnel, and the host Guard or Reserve Wing supplies the aircraft and associated support equipment.

The new squadron will be made up of aircraft maintainers, several pilots, a squadron commander, a senior enlisted leader, and several support personnel. With the exception of the commander, senior leader and the commander’s support staff, all Active Duty Airmen will be fully integrated into the 177th, working alongside their Air National Guard counterparts.

“The 177th Maintenance Group is dedicated to developing multi-capable Airmen who provide, sustain, and generate fighter aircraft and combat equipment to meet strategic objectives,” said Lt. Col. Brian Cooper, 177th Maintenance Group commander. “The addition of the 306th Fighter Squadron maintenance Airmen provides the 177th Maintenance Group with the opportunity to bolster our team of professional Airmen, whose understanding of our peer competitors will further advance our ability to generate global power.”

In March of 2013, the 495th Fighter Group began as nine individual detachments organized under the Active Duty/Regular Air Force 20th Fighter Wing. Three years later, the Group was formally activated and charged with providing administrative control and oversight over its expanding number of geographically-separated units. With the activation of the 306th, the 495th will consist of 10 operational fighter squadrons across 23 locations.

“I’m extremely excited for the next step in the 177th Fighter Wing’s integration into the Total Force,” said Lt. Col. Gregory P. Poston, II, 177th Operations Group commander. “We have been training active duty F-16 pilots for the last five years here, but their active duty support came from other units stationed in Vermont and South Carolina.  With the activation of the 306th Fighter Squadron, we will have a full Active Association here. I can’t wait to welcome them into our team and look forward to building a lasting relationship that will improve the Air Force as a whole in both training and combat employment.”