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Sword Athena shines light on Reserve, ANG obstacles

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dana Tourtellotte
  • Air Combat Command Public Affairs

When Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., took office in 2020, he released an Air Force wide document “Accelerate Change or Lose.” This tasked units to adjust for the future of the Air Force, which would be more diverse, inclusive and ready. Air Combat Command’s Sword Athena 2021 event provided a forum for ACC Airmen to pitch ideas that accelerated change and tackled female and family-centric barriers to readiness.

“I see working with SA 2021 as an opportunity to better my understanding of total force obstacles,” said Maj. Joya Gamara, 854th Combat Operations Squadron combat plans division chief. “Using SA’s network, I can learn more quickly and effectively how to assist my people, which will help make a more seamless system for everyone.”

One obstacle she discussed was the process of gaining Air National Guard and Reserve members to active duty teams. Coordinating childcare or coverage of civilian work obligations to fulfill Air Force duties can be challenging, especially with last-minute notice. It can take weeks of planning and substantial out-of-pocket expenses to make a transition to an AD unit.

“If a regular Air Force unit is requiring support from a Reserve member, it’s not as simple as telling that person their support is needed the following day,” Gamara said. “A Reserve or guardsman also has the challenge of coordinating with their civilian employers and with their families to take time away from their civilian jobs to perform their military duties.”

Gamara said total force objectives are going to be part of a growing conversation towards making a more seamless transition possible for our people.

“Sometimes if people don’t see what’s possible, they don’t dream bigger; now that they can see it, they can dream it,” Gamara said. “I aspire to use my life to help my folks see what’s possible in their lives. I am humbled to represent both my squadron the new 960th Cyberspace Wing, and I hope to make even a small contribution towards positive changes for our Airmen.”