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C-17s to operate out of Ramstein

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- -- In a coordinated effort between U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Air Mobility Command and the AF Reserve Command, USAFE will now have two dedicated C-17s that can provide direct support for strategic airlift requirements in the European and African areas of operation, as well as other world wide missions.

"This is the first time anything like this has ever been done," said Tech. Sgt. Cameron Davis, Air and Space Operations Center, Air Mobility Division, Airlift Requirements NCOIC.

"U.S. European Command will prioritize the airlift mission requirements and then give those to us," he added. "Then we will work with the Tanker Airlift Control Center and the customer to make the mission happen."

According to Sergeant Davis, the biggest advantage is the ability to prioritize using a theater perspective as opposed to a global perspective. "By doing it this way, we ensure the missions that are important to us have a voice and don't have to compete with world-wide missions."

Getting the C-17 rotational airlift mission up and running at Ramstein took a total force effort. The Air Force Reserve Command provided the aircrews, as well as a mission commander, NCOIC and crew chief on a rotational basis. They are currently here from McGuire, but that will change with each AEF rotation.

"All of the reservists are here on a volunteer basis, not as mobilized reservists," emphasized Lt. Col. James Fryer, the 732nd Airlift Squadron Commander out of McGuire. "Our unit was tasked with the first rotation since it was our AEF bucket, but we all volunteered to come."

The C-17s are provided by AMC and will come from various bases on a rotational basis. The first C-17 arrived here from Charleston AFB, S.C. January 29, and the second C-17 is due to arrive in mid-to-late spring with two additional crews.

While they are here, the aircrews and aircraft will be assigned to the 779th Expeditionary Airlift Flight and will provide dedicated and timely global airlift in support of the USEUCOM mission, and to augment the global mobility fleet.

Finally, the 723rd Air Mobility Squadron here at Ramstein is providing the maintenance support.

"The maintenance support from the 723rd has been outstanding," said Colonel Fryer. "They are true professionals and we couldn't do this without them."

The first C-17 rotational airlift mission was flown Friday, Jan. 25 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom's NATO Training Mission in Iraq.

"This is a great partnership and a first step toward better utilization of our assets and support to the global airlift mission," said Lt. Col. Fryer. "We look forward to supporting the strategic airlift requirements not only in Europe and Africa, but world wide."