RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Ongoing U.S. Transportation Command surge operations into Afghanistan are being fully supported by U.S. Air Forces in Europe airmen as of July 27.
These airmen are integral in pushing through the increased numbers of deploying combat troops and war-sustaining equipment.
USAFE air bases have proven essential to these movements as they provide strategic staging locations in Central Europe and possess the required advanced infrastructure to sustain increased operations tempo.
By Aug. 31, 2010, Air Mobility Command aircraft and crews are to have delivered an additional 30,000 troops and associated equipment, fulfilling the Dec. 1, 2009, order of President Barack Obama.
"USAFE air base infrastructure is indispensible for strategic global projection of our forces and medical evacuations," said Air Force Col. Marilyn Kott, deputy director of USAFE Air and Space Operations. "Because of USAFE and Air Mobility Command forward presence in Germany, AMC aircrews can fly into Afghanistan, offload passengers and cargo, and fly out the same day opening up ramp space downrange for other aircraft."
Both Ramstein and Spangdahlem are particularly critical air mobility hubs for U.S. and NATO throughput activities. Throughput capacity of these bases was increased as part of the transition of Rhein-Main's mission to Ramstein and Spangdahlem Air Bases; USAFE's realignment decision has significantly benefited the national interests of both the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States by allowing Frankfurt International Airport to expand its operations and at the same time giving USAFE state-of-the art air mobility infrastructure at the receiving base.
Support of ongoing USTRANSCOM surge operations have required augmentation by USAFE manpower, which is being filled by several USAFE bases sending airmen on temporary duty. The Air Force mission specialties include vehicle operators, fuel specialists, services and aircraft maintenance.
"We're on six-month deployment orders coming (to Ramstein) and work 12-hour days just like we would downrange," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Pinner, 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron, fuels distribution operator. "There are six of us here from Aviano (Air Base, Italy), and we've dealt with normal deployment challenges like missing births and responding to family emergencies, but we're proud to be a part of this mission."
Surge missions have increased aircraft received, serviced, fueled and launched by USAFE airmen, in some cases as high as 53 percent more than pre-surge levels.
While surge support is in full swing, USAFE units continue to deploy airmen downrange in addition to accomplishing their assigned duties within the European theater.
"USAFE airmen are already forward-stationed in the European theater supporting U.S. European Command and other joint operations by providing deterrent combat airpower, building partnership capacity, engaging with our allies and strengthening international partnerships," said Air Force Gen. Roger Brady, USAFE commander. "USAFE is grateful for these partnerships, which are key to USAFE's strategic responsibility and the access afforded by forces forward. This access is a key pillar of U.S. global power and projection. I'm proud of every Airman who has worked hard to ensure our mission success."