52nd Operations Group fulfills the mission everyday

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- When people think of the 52nd Operations Group, certain things may come to mind--aircraft zipping through the sky, runways being cleared and inspected, or the voice on the ground controlling the sky. All these things and more make up the 52nd OG.

"The mission of the 52nd OG is to train, deploy and, if necessary, employ combat power to the national command authority," said U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Winkler, 52nd OG commander from Fredericksburg, Va.

The group is an example of U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa's forward force of over 34,000 military and civilian Airmen and 175 aircraft, providing combatant commanders aerospace forces to execute current and contingency operations requiring a timely response.

"We are the example of Forward, Ready, Now," said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Bruce Zahn, 52nd OG superintendent from Westhope, N.D. "We project aerospace power wherever needed in the world."

The 52nd Fighter Wing's forces have the ability to fight from home station or quickly deploy forward in support of expeditionary operations.

The 52nd Operations Support Squadron, 480th Fighter Squadron and the 606th Air Control Squadron fall under the control of the 52nd OG.

"The 52nd OSS owns and operates the airfield to support both combat and mobility aircraft up to 24 hours a day if required," Winkler said. "We are the second largest provider of mobility air flow in all of Europe and Africa."

As USAFE's only F-16 Block 50 squadron, the 480th FS Warhawks provide the Supreme Headquarters Allied Forces Europe and USAFE commanders with dedicated suppression of enemy air defense, air interdiction and counter-air and close air support capability.

"The 606th ACS, provides battle management forward to any coalition, U.S. or NATO ally," Winkler said. "They provide a synchronized air and ground picture of everything that's flying and most of the things that are driving to the aircraft."

The 52nd OG's U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment, Poland, activated Nov. 9, 2012. The Av-Det fosters bilateral defense ties, enhances regional security, and increases interoperability among NATO allies through combined training exercises with periodic rotational aircraft.

"Ten Airmen are out in Poland as the only permanent party DoD forces stationed in Poland," Winkler said. "They prepare and help train the Polish air forces as well as accept follow-on forces when we go out there to either train or to do operations assuring our allies."

No wing, group or squadron can fulfill every mission requirement on its own; it takes a team effort.

"Our group is an integral part of the fighter wing," Winkler said. "My group operates the base's fighter squadron for the 52nd FW, but everybody in the wing works together to accomplish its mission. We have a preponderance of some of those missions, but we couldn't do it without everybody else in the wing."

The professionalism and honed skills of the Airmen make the mission happen.

"A perfect example of the professionalism of our Airmen is in the recent exercise Atlantic Resolve," Zahn said. "The Airmen out there absolutely crushed the expectations that we would get up there. We would probably get the required amount of missions done, but we exceeded in every category. We proved that we could do it as a team, and they were awesome."

"The Airmen make the mission," Zahn added. "That's the bottom line; they do it every single day."