Patriot Express missions diverted to support troop redeployment

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Air Mobility Command officials have temporarily cancelled several Patriot Express missions between the United States and Europe to use those aircraft to fill requirements for the massive Southwest Asia rotation of forces. AMC is supporting the movement of 250,000 troops in 60 days, a feat military leaders have called "historic."

Patriot Express is the commercial charter air service for military members and their families traveling on official orders to or from overseas locations. With the approval of the AMC commander, seven missions have been cancelled between Feb. 8 and 24 that were scheduled to depart Atlanta and Baltimore-Washington International Airports for Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany; Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall; and Aviano Air Base and return flights.

AMC's Deputy Director of Logistics Col. Jeffrey Ackerson said March will bring the cancellation of an additional five Patriot Express missions March 1 through March 14 from Atlanta and BWI to Rhein-Main, Mildenhall, and Aviano, and return. The new cancellations affect 642 passengers and 57 pets.

Colonel Ackerson said, "We understand the impact of these cancellations on our Patriot Express customers, and AMC and the Tanker Airlift Control Center are doing everything possible to notify them of the changes."

He said passengers are being informed through their local transportation management offices. The TACC has asked the military services transportation representatives, commanders and transportation officers to contact passengers who may be on leave en route. In addition, the TACC has followed up with each of the transportation offices with passengers booked on the affected flights to make sure they were aware of the cancellations and were rebooking the travelers.

AMC aerial port squadron commanders at the Atlanta and BWI gateways and passenger terminals at Rhein-Main, Mildenhall and Aviano are leaning forward and are prepared to assist any passenger who needs assistance in booking flights.

"We're rebooking passengers on other military air service, if available, or on commercial air using the General Services Administration City Pair Program," said Colonel Ackerson.

Colonel Ackerson advises those who have tickets for Patriot Express flights to and from Europe to check with the transportation agency who originally booked the ticket to find out if the flight has been cancelled.

"We are moving America's warriors, and they deserve every consideration. We will continue to press hard to do everything we can to catch passengers early and reduce some of the inconvenience these cancellations will cause," said Colonel Ackerson.