Mobility squadron gets it done in more ways than 1

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Natasha Stannard
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Getting the war fighter and cargo to and from the fight takes more than just loading an aircraft; however, that is one of the 726th Air Mobility Squadron missions here.

But, that's not all they accomplish to ensure everything gets to where it needs to go, whether it's passengers flying space available, life-saving material going downrange or injured service members in need of medical care getting offloaded from an aircraft.

The 726th AMS gets all this done by providing rapid mobility support through their command and control center, aerial port, and aircraft maintenance sections, said Capt. Deanna Phillips, 726th AMS director of operations.

Mastering these three missions not only allows the AMS to sustain itself, but this squadron can also provide support to other Air Mobility Command hubs in Europe. In addition to that, the AMS supports Ramstein Air Base by taking over-flow of aeromedical evacuation missions.

Delivering airpower to support Spangdahlem AB, and others, starts at the squadron's air mobility command and control center. This section is the nucleus of the three missions as it keeps track of everything and anything having to do with aircraft and its cargo.

The center communicates with incoming aircraft crews to follow the status of their flight and ensure they're safe. This section sends any and all updates to other parties involved with the aircraft's mission and arrival to include the maintainers who will inspect the aircraft and the aerial port that services, and loads and offloads the aircraft, said Tech. Sgt. Angela Tate-Amos, 726th AMS air mobility control center senior controller.

The command center's job doesn't end once the aircraft arrives here because the staff has to keep in constant contact with the other two AMS sections. This way controllers know what is going on with the aircraft and its cargo, so if anything changes the controllers can relay information to AMC, the major command the 726th AMS reports to, and the base the aircraft is returning to, Tate-Amos explained.

"We make sure aircraft get here and get out smoothly," Tate-Amos added.

The controllers also communicate with the other two AMS sections in case the Airmen working that mission need anything. If maintainers need equipment, the command and control center calls the proper agencies to get them equipment, and if the aerial port needs a vehicle to transport passengers, the controllers do the same for them.

In order for aircraft to fly out smoothly, they need to be maintained, and the AMS Maintenance Flight provides that capability around-the-clock by fixing anything from the engine to the landing gear.

The maintainers have to be ready to repair not just one airframe but two, which means two different generations of engineering. The C-17 Globemaster III and the C-5 Galaxy fly to and from Spangdahlem AB, so mechanics have to know the ins and outs of both, said Master Sgt. Michael Ferneding, 726th AMS Maintenance Flight chief.

"Our missions are real world every day," Ferneding said of the mission tempo. "As long as this airfield is open, we'll launch and recover aircraft 24/7."

Launching and recovering is done before and after flights and involves inspecting the mechanical functions of the aircraft and fixing anything that comes up during the inspections.

Mechanics also ask the pilots how the aircraft flew. Asking the pilots about the flight gives the maintainers a heads-up for things they need to pay special attention to during the inspections, Phillips added.

"[Inspections] ensure serviceability of aircraft," Ferneding said. "[During them], we find items damaged during flight that need service and repair them."

If something should come up in an inspection, the maintenance operations flight would report it to the command and control center--who would then coordinate with other base agencies and relay the status of the aircraft to associated commands keeping everyone on the same page.

As communication is continued and maintenance is performed, Airmen working in the aerial port ensure everything else from passenger lunches to cargo are good to go. Cargo can be anything from mail to helicopters.

"We have to be able to respond to anything that hits the ground," said Master Sgt. LaMar Isaac, 726th AMS aircraft services superintendent.

The 726th AMS aerial port provides passenger services and cargo uploading and offloading for aircraft leaving here to include U.S Air Force and Royal Canadian air force aircraft. Services include transporting passengers to the terminal and lodging, servicing and cleaning the aircraft, and handling luggage. Most of the cargo they handle goes downrange, but sometimes it comes from downrange.

"We're used as an overflow location for Ramstein [aeromedical evacuation missions]," Isaac said. "We have to be ready for anything like humanitarian relief [because] something could happen at any moment.

"Once, we had 20 minutes notice," Isaac said about the speed with which his Airmen respond to support requests. "Without us here, [the patient] couldn't get off the plane."

Patients and all other cargo need to be loaded with special loading equipment, and aerial port Airmen are trained in using that specialized equipment.

In addition to saving lives here, AMSs mission delivers airpower every day supporting operations in Europe and bases in U.S. Central Command.