By 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 94th Airlift Wing (the “94th” or the “Wing”) serves as Dobbins Air Reserve Base’s (ARB) host unit. The Wing is also an operational flying unit with eight C-130H3 Hercules aircraft, and more than 2,000 Air Force Reserve and civilian personnel. The mission of the 94th is to “Provide Mission Ready Forces” by executing rapid global mobility and agile combat support.
The 94th has a proud history of providing strategic airpower in support of a number of conflicts. The 94th was established in 1949 as the 94th Bombardment Wing. The Wing was activated to service in the Air Force Reserve on June 26, 1949. Shortly thereafter, the 94th was called to active service on March 10, 1951, in support of the Korean War.
Over the next few decades, the 94th took on a variety of missions, including tactical reconnaissance, bombardment, troop carrier and airlift. In 1964, the Wing converted to C-124s, which allowed it to fly strategic airlift missions, flying troop and cargo missions into Southeast Asia. Nearly 10 years later, the Wing switched to the C-7 aircraft. The Wing’s operations then primarily began supporting the U.S. Army airborne forces, while still performing tactical cargo airlift and air evacuation missions.
In 1981, the 94th became the 94th Airlift Wing, as it is known today, flying three transport aircraft: the C-7, C-123 and C-130. By 1987, it had given up all its aircraft but the C-130, which it still flies today.
Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 94th train constantly at home station to ensure continued readiness and maintain the ability to serve anywhere in support of US national defense.
“In a deployed environment, we fly cargo and passengers from a larger base to more remote locations,” said Brig. Gen. Richard Kemble, 94th commander. “Larger airplanes bring the passengers and cargo in. From there, we fly to austere locations and do dirt strip landings or provide air drops in support of the Global War on Terrorism.”
“94th AW Airmen are passionate and invested in their service,” said Brig. Gen. Kemble. “It takes the contributions of everyone in the wing to ensure mission success.”
The Wing utilizes Airmen and civilians spread across a variety of groups and squadrons to fly missions and equip its people.
The 94th Maintenance Group is responsible for maintaining the aircraft flown by the Wing. This includes everything from working on the systems that get the aircraft into the air to changing the tires on the landing gear when it returns to base.
The 94th Operations Group is comprised of the 700th Airlift Squadron (AS) and the 94th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AES). The 700th AS employs aircrew members to fly the C-130H3 Hercules in support of the Wing’s tactical airlift missions. The 94th AES performs aeromedical evacuation missions around the world.
The 94th Mission Support Group is the most diverse organization in the wing, providing tasks as wide ranging as security, infrastructure maintenance and support, personnel records and processing.
The 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron provides medical care to the Airmen who make up the Wing and ensure they are medically fit for deployments.
Deployment and Training
In 2016 and 2017, more than 450 Airmen—nearly a quarter of the Wing—deployed in support of contingency operations around the world, including Southwest Asia and Afghanistan for Operations Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve.
“We gained a lot of experience from our deployment,” said Lt. Col. Chris Gohlke, 700th AS commander. “We can bring that home and then keep that and build upon it here as well and spread it to those who didn’t get to go this time and those who come into our doors brand new, off the street and help make them better prepared for the next one.”
The Wing also regularly participates in a number of exercises around the world to build and maintain strong allied partnerships. This year, the Wing participated in two major international exercises.
Real Thaw 18–Portugal: The annual two-week exercise includes armed forces from multiple nations to participate in training missions aimed at merging and deploying different platforms toward a major objective, covering a vast range of activities including air-to-air and air-to-ground training, tactical air transport operations, and close air support.
“It provides a unique training opportunity,” said Maj. Richard Konopczynski, deputy mission commander from the 700th AS at Dobbins. “We get to work with our coalition partners. We have other C-130 units here from different countries, and we get to not only compare our techniques, but also work in a deployed environment.”
Swift Response–Germany: The annual U.S. Army-led multinational exercise is designed to train airborne forces’ capabilities in providing quick and effective response to crisis situations as an interoperable, multinational team.
“It’s important because we have to train together,” said Capt. Aaron Brown, 700th AS pilot. “When we deploy, we deploy together as an integrated air force. It really is rewarding to work with all the allied nations and our Army partners, and to really see how it all comes together.”
In recent years, the Wing also participated in exercises in Italy, Jordan, Canada, Latvia and Poland.
Natural Disaster Relief
In 2017, Dobbins ARB was designated an Installation Support Base for FEMA and a Federal Coordinating Center for the National Disaster Medical System. During hurricane relief efforts for Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Airmen from the 94th assisted in relief efforts, such as helping in preparing and transporting cargo to and from affected areas, and assisting in tracking medical patients, evacuees and responders moving in and out of the Caribbean. In total, Dobbins ARB supported 134 flights of both military and civilian aircraft and received more than 200 patients for assessment and transport to Atlanta medical facilities.
“We’re incredibly proud of the work our Reservists are doing to support relief efforts,” said Col. Marty Hughes, 94th Mission Support Group commander. “The partnerships with FEMA, the Department of Health and Human Services and all the agencies supporting these relief efforts have been tremendous.”
Base Host Unit Role
Providing support to Dobbins ARB military tenant organizations is just as important as the Wing’s flying mission. With Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps units operating at Dobbins ARB, the base closely resembles a joint installation. Military mission partners include the 22nd Air Force Headquarters, Georgia National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, Navy Operational Support Center Atlanta, and Army Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve units.
“We really are a Dobbins family,” said Brig. Gen. Kemble. “Everyone on this patch of land, past and present, is part of the 94th Airlift Wing family.”
94th Airlift Wing Reserve Airmen also have strong ties with the local community.
“We enjoy a great partnership with folks around the base,” said Brig. Gen. Kemble. “Our Airmen live in Marietta, Kennesaw, Canton, Woodstock and other towns nearby. The support we get from each one of those surrounding communities is phenomenal.”
94th Airmen are constantly involved with many community initiatives, such as the Cobb Chamber’s Honorary Commanders program, which pairs a community member with a military leader on base for a year-long military immersion program.
“The outpouring of support from the local community is greatly appreciated by the service members of the 94th Airlift Wing and Dobbins ARB,” said Brig. Gen. Kemble.