Mobility Airmen help build global partnerships

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — Delivering humanitarian aid, transporting coalition forces to various points on the globe, refueling the fight and providing first-class care in the sky are hallmarks of Air Mobility Command’s rapid global mobility mission. 

Yet mission success is not possible without a reliable network of partnerships built with allied nations.

Building and strengthening our relationships with partner nations is vital to the success of AMC’s mission because it enhances our ability to provide global mobility support, said Maj. Benjamin Seedall, 618th Air Operations Center’s Coronet Mission branch chief.  

“We’re stronger together,” Seedall said. “Working together helps build partnerships for future operations, and helps build diplomacy and trust.”

Seedall highlighted AMC’s role in the delivery of Israel’s first two F-35 aircraft as an example of strengthening AMC partnerships. For that mission, KC-135s from three different units provided vital aerial refueling support during the multi-day mission. In providing that support AMC helped deepen the ties between the two countries. 

Providing air bridges and giving a lift to partner nations is not the only support AMC Airmen provide. 

Members of the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron and the 818th MSAS execute AMC’s building partner capacity mission. The two squadrons are comprised of highly skilled Airmen who focus on training, advising, and assisting partner nations in developing air mobility capabilities in locations where air mobility operational support is non-existent or insufficient.

“If we help our partner air forces via training and advising, we help enable shared responsibility of future operations,” said Joseph Sanchez, AMC’s building partnership functional area manager.

Sanchez spotlighted the achievements of 818th MSAS air advisors who deployed to Bujumbura, Burundi, to help build the Burundi National Defense Force’s capacity to conduct aerial port operations. The Airmen provided classroom and hands-on instruction in cargo preparation and aircraft load planning.

“The Burundi National Defense Force requested some help to move some cargo in support of the African Union Mission to Somalia. AMC, of course, answered the call, and our expectation was to be on the ground for a couple of weeks. When we showed up — the Burundis were prepared and a two-week mission became a four-five day mission.”

Sanchez added that strategic and tactical partnerships AMC builds with partner nations like Burundi helps enhance deterrence, build regional stability, and increase capability and capacity.

In addition, building lasting partnerships affords AMC the ability to respond quickly to multi-service, interagency and coalition operations.

“AMC doesn’t operate in a vacuum,” said Dan Jassem, AMC Foreign Policy Advisor. “It’s important for us to know and understand what’s happening around the world, because global political and economic issues will affect us and how we accomplish the mission.”

Jassem said the military’s effort in the days following the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami disaster in South and Southeast Asia as a good example of building a relationship with a potential future partner. During the relief efforts, AMC’s Airmen delivered tons of relief equipment and hundreds of essential military personnel into the affected region.

“I was serving in the region at the time, and I saw that our ability to go in and help people — to show we care —totally changed our relationship with Indonesia, which had previously been neutral at best,” he said. “Afterwards, our relationship became much more positive, simply because of the fact we were there to lend a hand when it was needed most.”

Jassem added AMC’s aid during the Nepal humanitarian effort in 2015 helped strengthen relationships between the two countries. 

“[The earthquake] did quite a bit of damage,” Jassem said. “Nepal is a mountainous country and roads weren’t good, and there were landslides. Our mobility Airmen were able to get vital equipment and personnel there to help.  Now, we’ve built a relationship with the Nepalese, and established that level of trust — of friendship — that’s so critical. That’s a big part of what we do.”

Building partnerships is challenging, but the results of those partnerships are rewarding — especially when it allows AMC to deliver rapid global mobility. 

“The bottom line is our relationships with our allied and partner nations helps us succeed at our rapid global mobility mission,” Jassem said.