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20th AF aims to increase reserve footprint across missile wings

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Nikita Thorpe
  • 90th Missiles Wing

Colonel Erich Novak, 20th Air Force mobilization assistant, discussed the decision and efforts being made to provide officers, in the 20th AF missile wings, the choice to continue to serve as a reserve Airman on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Sept. 29, 2017.


According to Novak, every year the reserve command holds a staff-to-staff meeting with each major command, and in March they met with Air Force Global Strike Command. Air Force Global Strike Command leadership requested Novak aid in increasing the reserve footprint throughout the missile wings.


With Maj. Gen. Anthony Cotton’s support, Novak has tackled the task whole-heartedly with his primary focus on the 13N, nuclear and missile operations career field.


“In the past, we have had a handful of positions with no clear [reserve] career path,” said Novak. “The first duty the general tasked me with, was to build a 13N career development plan.”


Since the plan’s approval in April, Novak has focused his efforts on obtaining and building 13N reserve slots for captain through colonel across the three missile wings. This will ensure the officers hired have a career path allowing for development leading to promotion.


Novak views this manning progression as the perfect opportunity for missileers unable to continue on active duty and a benefit to the Air Force in general.


“Due to circumstances, whether it is medical, family or work oriented, there are a lot of people who cannot or do not desire to continue full time,” said Novak. “For the ones who still want to serve our country, we are providing that opportunity and allowing active duty to reach back and use these highly experienced [reserve] Airmen.”


First lieutenant Megan Hunter, 319th Missile Squadron missile crew commander, shared her reasons for making the decision to leave active duty.


“There comes a time when you just can’t think about moving again,” said Hunter. “I want to continue to serve my country and I want to stay in the local area, so I felt like now is a good time to transition to the Guard or Reserves. I think the Reserves is a great option for those that are not completely ready to say goodbye to the military life.”


The effort to obtain missileer reserve slots is gaining traction and continues to move forward. All three missile wing commanders have given full support and have referred officers to Novak for hire.


Novak’s next focus is to simultaneously pursue other positions in various career fields such as intelligence, security forces, civil engineer and munitions and missile maintenance.


“My job is to retain those highly skilled, experienced and dedicated sharp individuals to augment the active duty to further the mission,” said Novak. “In the reserves, we want to be highly selective to ensure that we are always value added.”


For interested Airmen, the first step to pursuing this career path is to contact the base in-service recruiter. Novak is the senior reservist in 20th AF and welcomes those who are interested in contacting him with questions.