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Air mobility managers key to Haiti aid response

  • Published
  • By MSgt Kristina Newton
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
Beginning in the early hours of Oct. 5, the men and women who comprise the Air Mobility Division of the 612th Air and Space Operations Center at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., worked day and night, for more than two weeks, supporting relief operations in western Haiti.

As the entity which plans, coordinates, tasks and executes intra-theater airlift, aeromedical evacuation and air refueling missions within the U.S. Southern Command’s area of responsibility, the AMD was the lynchpin holding airlift operations together, 24 hours a day, as U.S. Air Force aircraft began delivering relief supplies to the Caribbean nation devastated by Hurricane Matthew, according to Lt. Col Bill Percival, 612th AOC Air Mobility Division chief.

The AMD is designed to operate on a 24-hour basis for a short period of time, but for an undertaking this massive they sought assistance from colleagues throughout the USAF.

“We’re manned to operate for about 72 hours straight,” said Percival. “But for an operation of this size, with such a diverse set of requirements, we looked to our active duty and Air National Guard counterparts for support.”

A total of 15 augmentees, from six units at three bases, travelled to the 612th AOC to support the increased operations. For nearly two weeks they assisted the AMD with everything from command and control operations, to providing expertise and visibility on aerial refueling and aeromedical evacuation.

“Every [Air Mobility Division] operates differently and that could have been a real challenge” said Lt Col. Mike Stoddard, 612th AOC Air Mobility Division deputy chief. “But they were able to roll right in, get a quick briefing on our processes and were fully integrated into the team within 24 hours.”

According to Stoddard, the total contributions of the team equaled 13 airlift missions moving nearly 176 passengers and more than 116 metric tons of cargo.

“This [Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Response] mission was an amazing responsibility and the speed at which they integrated into our team and learned our processes was astounding,” said Percival. “The competence and professionalism displayed by all those involved really made this mission a success.”

The 612th Air and Space Operations Center, as part of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), is the primary command and control facility for coalition air operations in the Caribbean, as well as Central and South America. At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. SOUTHCOM established a joint task force at Port-au-Prince to move food, water, shelter materials and medical supplies into the region.