An Air Force reservist is a member of the United States military who is available on short notice in the event of a national emergency or other exigency. While the organization was created to support the Air Force, reservists have taken on a number of responsibilities that are solely their responsibility in the years since its inception. This includes putting out fires and responding to natural disasters.
Many Air Force reservists work other civilian jobs while serving part-time in the military. They are often trained in piloting various types of aircraft, as well as other related jobs in technology, mechanics, and communications, just like regular Air Force members. Those new to the military also go through a basic training course, where they learn physical and social skills that will help them serve effectively.
Aerial firefighting is a unique option available to Air Force reservists that is not part of regular Air Force duties. Where there are wildfires burning that other firefighting units have been unable to control, military personnel in aircraft equipped for firefighting are frequently called in. The opportunity to participate in weather reconnaissance is also unique to Air Force reservists. These pilots and scientists, known as the Hurricane Hunters, are tasked with gathering data on storms that strike the United States. They are crucial in predicting weather patterns because they provide civilians with vital information about when and where a storm will strike, allowing time for evacuations if necessary.
Other responsibilities of an Air Force reservist are similar to those of an active-duty Air Force member. Reservists transport patients, assist with aircraft refueling, act as intelligence agents, and operate various types of remote surveillance equipment. The reservist can also join one of several highly specialized units; pararescue units are reservists who parachute into enemy territory to rescue people who have become trapped behind enemy lines.
Reservists are frequently in charge of security at Air Force bases around the world. An Air Force reservist on base may also be in charge of cargo transportation, packing, and storage, as well as directing intelligence operations, conducting briefings, and interpreting data from a variety of sources. An Air Force reservist can also be assigned to stations that monitor the skies over a country or work as part of a team that keeps the Air Force’s aircraft in top shape.