by Tech. Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher
18th Air Force Public Affairs
4/1/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The
commanders of 18th Air Force and the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary
Center wrapped up a week-long whirlwind tour of air mobility units in
the Pacific area of operations, March 29.
Lt. Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, 18th AF commander, and Maj. Gen.
Frederick H. Martin, USAF EC commander, met with mobility Airmen from
five Pacific Air Forces bases to learn first-hand the accomplishments
and challenges these Airmen face in their operational roles.
The visits focused on members of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing,
which serves as the Pacific arm of the USAF EC and is operationally
controlled by 18th AF through the Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott
Air Force Base, Illinois. Headquartered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor
Hickam, Hawaii, the 515th AMOW is made up of two Air Mobility Operations
Groups, six Air Mobility Squadrons, three detachments, six operating
locations and five air terminal ground handling service contracts spread
across the entire Pacific theater.
In short, 515th AMOW units provide rapid global air mobility support to
the U.S. Pacific Command commander, including controlling, maintaining,
servicing, and moving mobility aircraft during peace- and war-time
missions vital to U.S. national security.
"These Airmen are part of something incredible, and it couldn't be done
without them," said Everhart. "You don't see these Airmen in the
limelight very often, but they are on every base with a runway and they
are doing an important mission every day. They should be proud of what
they do, and I can tell you right now that I'm proud of them."
Everhart and Martin took this message with them as they visited Airmen
on JB Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii; Andersen Air Base, Guam; Osan Air
Base, Republic of Korea; and Yokota and Kadena Air Bases, Japan. The
visits consisted of all-calls with mobility Airmen as well as
face-to-face meetings with unit leadership. They also discussed mobility
operations with U.S. Forces Korea and U.S. Forces Japan leadership as
well as regional partners such as the Japan Air Self Defense Force.
"Expeditionary operations are Air Mobility Command's trade craft and the
Air Force's strategic advantage on the world stage," Martin said. "The
adaptability of our Airmen and the strong partnerships that they
continue to support in this region directly affect our Air Force's
ability to deliver global vigilance, global reach and global power."
The 515th AMOW, along with the 521st AMOW in the European theater,
support various combat, humanitarian and contingency missions around the
world. For instance, the 515th AMOW provides airlift transport of cargo
to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, in support of Operation Deep Freeze,
while the 521st AMOW was instrumental in supporting mobility missions in
and out of West Africa in support of Operation United Assistance.
Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Rodriguez, 730th Air Mobility Squadron element
leader at Yokota AB, said the missions mobility Airmen accomplish range
from routine tasks like aircraft maintenance to emergencies that can pop
up unexpectedly such as responding to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
disaster in 2011.
"We handle about 890 aircraft arrivals and departures every month and
never know what to expect day in and day out," she said. "We never know
what new challenges every launch, recovery or maintenance of each
aircraft will entail, but we welcome the mission with a 'bring it on'
Everhart said one of his reasons for visiting these units is so he can learn how to better support them when they need it.
"I want to see for myself the level of capability and capacity we have
in this AOR because if something were to happen, such as a
Fukushima-like disaster or an outbreak of hostilities, it's these Airmen
who are going to be our mobility first responders," Everhart said. "I
need to see for myself whether they have everything they need in order
to shoulder that burden."
Martin said the trip reminded him that despite the challenges Airmen
face in an uncertain future and rapidly changing requirements, air power
comes from the efforts of Airmen.
"This trip to the Pacific Enterprise reinforced what I know to be true:
the power of our Air Force is directly related to the capability of our
Airmen," he said. "Air Mobility Squadron Airmen must continue providing
innovative solutions to complex challenges and strengthening
partnerships at their home stations to remain successful at delivering
world-class expeditionary support for our nation."
Rodriguez said the mobility Airmen working in AMOW units understand the challenges and are proud of the job they do.
"If there is one thing I can say, it's that this unit is proud of, and
want people to know about, how hard working, humble and committed our
maintainers are," she said. "Our maintainers conquer what can seem to
many as endless work and grease stains, but with that comes a great
sense of pride in our work."
Everhart said he is proud to lead Airmen like Rodriguez.
"I am always amazed by what our Airmen can do when you give them just a
little direction and set them loose," he said. "When you're scattered
across the biggest AOR in the world the way these mobility Airmen are,
it's easy for them to be lost in the shuffle. But they are there, every
day, making a difference and I want them to know that it doesn't go
unnoticed. I wanted to look them in the eye and tell them how important
their job is and that I'm proud of them."