SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Headquarters Air Mobility Command hosted 30 civic leaders at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, April 10 to 12, to provide an interactive look into what it takes to execute the rapid global mobility mission every day.
This is the first time in two years since HQ AMC has hosted civic leaders here.
“My role as a civic leader is to carry the water, to get the message back to the members of the community who might not know [about air mobility command’s role],” said Joseph Yacyshyn, a civic leader alumni representing Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. “There are other places besides Fox and CNN, as an ambassador for the Air Force, I have the task to make sure the story is understood in as many sectors of the community as I possibly can.”
Who else better to hear stories from than junior Airmen? The civic leaders began their day having breakfast with Airmen from various career fields to discuss their impact on the mobility mission.
Following breakfast, civic leaders received a briefing from U.S. Transportation Command and tour of the 618th Air Operations Center, where they learned about AMC’s four core capabilities; aeromedical evacuation, airlift, air refueling and mobility support, and how mobility missions are tasked through the Department of Defense structure.
Air Mobility Command executes approximately 600 sorties a day, we have to make sure we get the most efficient use of our resources, said Maj. Jay Weaver, AMC commander special action officer. He also briefed the AMC civic leaders about the origin and the mission. AMC is the air component of USTRANSCOM. When requests a mission, it goes directly to the AOC because of the urgency.
Nearly 700 active duty, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, civilian and contract personnel manage the global air operations center. They are responsible for centralized command and control of Air Force and commercial air mobility assets 24/7. These Airmen use priority levels to ensure efficient use of Airmen and aircraft, said Master Sgt. Alexander Berry, commander’s programs superintendent. And they have the capability to swap out a broken aircraft or move a patient in a matter of minutes.
Berry referred to one example in particular, in which various aspects of the mobility forces worked together to get one soldier home. In 2007, Army Sergeant Dan Powers suffered a knife injury to his head during a mission in Iraq. The 618th AOC was able to procure an aircraft and air refueling support for the soldier to be transported directly from Iraq to a hospital in Maryland in one trip.
Once a patient is in the AE system, there is a 98 percent survival rate. Airmen from the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron showed the civic leaders why they are so good at what they do, by demonstrating a training scenario.
“I didn’t know or fully appreciate the magnitude of the work carried out by the Airmen, whether it’s a pilot, a cargo mover, a nurse, a general, the president, all those people need the help of Air Mobility Command to get to where they need to be,” said Linda Inman, representing Grand Forks AF, North Dakota.
That includes ensuring service members get to their deployed environment. The civic leaders were also afforded the opportunity to put the whole picture into perspective during a teleconference with Brig. Gen. Kevin Lamberth, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, director of mobility forces, whose role is to advise on mobility forces decisions.
Air Mobility Command Airmen launch aircraft once every 2.8 minutes in support of the nine geographic commands it supports. One of those commands is U.S. Central Command. Lamberth described the impact mobility Airmen are making down range.
“Just in the month of March mobility Airmen in the AFCENT AOR have enabled 200 airlift sorties, delivered 26,500 pounds of cargo and 15,000 passengers, and offloaded 180 million pounds of fuel,” said Lamberth. “It’s about putting bombs on targets and AMC Airmen are on the front lines making it happen every day.”
It is a 365-day-a-year Total Force mission, said Lamberth. It’s mobility Airmen doing the heavy lifting to ensure ground forces have what they need; the Civil Reserve Air fleet are transporting forces in and out of theater; air refueling is enabling aircraft to fight the enemy on the ground from above; contingency response Airmen open air bases and help advise, assist and equip Iraqi forces so they liberate their own country; and aeromedical Airmen are transporting wounded.
“Mobility Airmen are the first in and the last out, and all the parts in-between,” said Gen. Carlton D. Everhart ll, AMC commander. “No mobility mission is complete without our Total Force and industry partners.”
The civic leaders are considered part of AMC’s Total Force as well.
“I feel honored to be a part of this program. I come from a world of communication, so this is a great opportunity,” Dr. Rhonda Sauget, a new civic leader representing Scott AFB. “I do a lot of presentations, and this will enable me to tell the story, not only about what the command does, but promoting the opportunities from high schools to faith-based community to consider careers in this field because it is important to continue to grow the work force.”
The mobility mission relies heavily on the Guard and Reserve aircraft to fulfill missions, said Everhart during the Total Force panel; Brig. Gen. John Williams represented the Reserve and Brig. Gen. Thomas Kenneth represented the Guard. He told the civic leaders, we rely heavily on Guard and Reserve Airmen to complete both air refueling but airlift missions.
“It is amazing to listen to a four-star general, talk about his vision and his experience from a very practical level,” said Dr. Robert Watkins, a new civic leader representing Robins AFB, Georgia. “He was very sensitive to us non-military people. For me to walk away understanding what AMC is about is extraordinary.”
The one question civic leaders wanted answered during their visit is what can they do to help mobility Airmen complete the mission. Everhart charged the civic leaders with one task once they return to their homes.
“I need you to speak about mobility all the time,” Everhart said. “Whether it’s with future recruits, people out in the community or military members currently serving.”