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Air Force Reserve: 68 years strong

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, Master Sgt. Kandi Costa and Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, the Air Force Reserve chief and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, cut a cake to mark the Reserve's 68th birthday April 14, 2016, in the Pentagon. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, Master Sgt. Kandi Costa and Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, the Air Force Reserve chief and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, cut a cake to mark the Reserve's 68th birthday April 14, 2016, in the Pentagon. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, the Air Force Reserve chief and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, talks to attendees during a celebration marking the Reserve's 68th birthday April 14, 2016, in the Pentagon. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, the Air Force Reserve chief and commander of Air Force Reserve Command, talks to attendees during a celebration marking the Reserve's 68th birthday April 14, 2016, in the Pentagon. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Celebrating the Air Force Reserve's 68th birthday during a Pentagon ceremony April 14, 2016, are, from left, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein; Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody; Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James; Master Sgt. Kandi Costa; Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, the Air Force Reserve chief and commander of Air Force Reserve Command; radio personality Delilah; and Brian Ford. Delilah and Ford are civic leaders for Air Force Reserve Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Celebrating the Air Force Reserve's 68th birthday during a Pentagon ceremony April 14, 2016, are, from left, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein; Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody; Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James; Master Sgt. Kandi Costa; Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, the Air Force Reserve chief and commander of Air Force Reserve Command; radio personality Delilah; and Brian Ford. Delilah and Ford are civic leaders for Air Force Reserve Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James spoke to the importance of total force integration during the Air Force Reserve’s 68th birthday celebration April 14 at the Pentagon.

James said she has witnessed the Reserve’s contributions and accomplishments in her 35 years’ experience in the federal government and the private sector.

“Throughout nearly seven decades, the Air Force Reserve has been there with us every step of the way, every time we’ve had a challenge around the world,” James said.

More than 147,000 reservists fought in the Korean War; 19,000 served during the Cuban missile crisis; and 38,000 deployed in support of the Persian Gulf War.

“Today, over a quarter of all forward-deployed Airmen comes from our Air Force Reserve,” James said. “That is unbelievable to me, and is something most of America doesn’t realize, so we have to continue to tell that story.”

The Air Force Reserve was originally formed as a “standby” force by President Harry Truman in 1948, and now has five air reserve bases and 33 flying wings. It officially became the ninth major command -- Air Force Reserve Command -- in 1997.

Recent total force initiatives include cross-component leadership positions and streamlining personnel systems.

“Citizen Airmen, with active-duty and (Air National Guard) members, provide global vigilance, reach and power every single day for our Air Force and we’re a proud member of the three component team,” said Air Force Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson. “We have over 69,000 Reserve members standing in our nation’s defense and I couldn’t be more proud of those members.

“(I want to thank) every single Airman with a big ‘A’ we have -- active, Guard, Reserve and civilians -- in standing up every day and doing what you do, and making sure your families are taken care of as you conduct our nation’s defense,” Jackson said.

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