The Reserve Aviation Force, consisting of both Navy and Marine Reserve units, is an integral part of Naval Aviation. Highly skilled and dedicated citizen-Sailors provide a full-time capability in most of the same mission areas as their active duty counterparts. Training in front-line equipment, Reserve aviation units provide an "up and ready" warfighting capability - in whole or in part - from the first day of mobilization.

A Reserve Air Wing (CVWR), a Reserve Helicopter Wing, two Reserve Patrol Wings and a Reserve Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) comprise the bulk of the reserve warfighting capability. One Fleet Logistics Support Wing rounds out the force structure and provides indigenous airlift support for the entire Navy.

The Marine Corps maintains one reserve air wing - the 4th MAW - whose primary mission is to augment and reinforce the active component. 4th MAW has 181 combat aircraft assigned to four Marine Aircraft Groups and six Operational Support Airlift aircraft assigned to two Air Support Detachments. Additionally, there is one Wing Support Group and one Marine Air Control Group that round out the Marine reserve aviation force structure. One of the Marine Reserve F/A-18A squadrons assigned to 4th MAW is a full participant in the Navy/Marine Corps tactical aviation integration program and is assigned to CVWR-20 when conducting joint training. Upon mobilization, that squadron would be assigned to CVWR-20 for combat duty in the Fleet.