It was a different time. Plenty of manning, great technology (for its time), a wide assortment of aircraft, and a good work/life balance for the airmen. But they still faced the dreaded ORI (Operational Readiness Inspection).
The film “The Air Force Reserve- Always Ready” was produced by the Air Force Reserve (AFRES) during 1980 and documents that year’s Exercise Paid Redoubt. The exercise involved nearly every facet of AFRES capability and capacity at the time, simulating multiple scenarios and mission variables over the two week-long Colorado event. In the video below, uploaded by YouTubers wdtvlive42 – Archive Footage, you’ll see not only the aircraft and crews but the personnel behind the scenes who made the difference between chaos and control.
In the film, Lockheed C-130H, DC-130H, and HC-130H Hercules aircraft appear in their tactical airlift, drone control, and rescue command and control and refueling roles respectively. A Sikorsky HH-3H Jolly Green Giant flies a simulated combat search and rescue (CSAR) mission, complete with close air support provided by Cessna OA-37B Dragonfly aircraft.
When it comes to the tactical fighter role, the 457th Fighter Squadron (FS) Spads of the 301st Fighter Wing (FW) fly their Republic F-105D Thunderchiefs from Carswell AFB in Texas to the exercise. Lockheed C-141A Starlifters and C-5A Galaxies provide logistical support for Paid Redoubt.