By MS. SOFIA SCHATZ, STAFF WRITER
The 618th Air Operations Center (AOC), located at Scott Air Force Base, IL, plays a prominent role in implementing Air Mobility Command’s (AMC) mission to provide rapid, global mobility and sustainment for America’s armed forces.
How significant is this role? The indispensable 618 AOC is tasked with the enormous job of overseeing AMC’s flights worldwide!
The job entails the planning, scheduling, and directing of a fleet of nearly 1,100 mobility aircraft, including the C-5 Galaxy, KC-10 Extender, KC-135 Stratotanker, and more. It can also involve working with commercial contractors on an as-needed basis—a practice known as Commercial Augmentation. Commercial Augmentation is a successful tactic for the 618 AOC, which has always kept strategy at the forefront of every endeavor.
Initially known as the Tanker Airlift Control Center, the 618 AOC became operational on April 1, 1992. Air mobility leadership had wanted to streamline worldwide mobility because of previous extensive operations. Nearly 20 years later, on April 1, 2007, the centralized organization was redesignated as the 618 AOC. Now comprising approximately 800 members, the 618 AOC has continued to be a strategic partner for today’s and tomorrow’s expeditionary Air Force.
In fact, in 2020, the 618 AOC proved its strategic mindset by implementing its largest, full-scale organization transformation. “The transformation was a monumental shift … for the future success of mobility operations,” said Brig Gen Jimmy Canlas, the 618 AOC Commander at that time.
In late 2020 and early 2021, under the current leadership of Brig Gen Daniel DeVoe, the 618 AOC sprang into action during the COVID-19 pandemic, transporting patients with COVID-19, as well as vaccines and equipment, around the world. Commercial Augmentation supported the 618 AOC in the effort and continues to be vital to the operations and success of AMC.
AMC can reduce the operational demand on aircrews through the continued support of commercial carriers and provide greater flexibility when supporting our warfighters downrange.
The partnership between the 618 AOC and commercially contracted carriers creates greater flexibility and availability for mobility forces. The civilian air fleet provides an invaluable service to the mobility mission, augmenting 90 percent of passenger movements and 30 percent of all cargo airlift—all carried out with safety in mind. When conducting operations, the 618 AOC utilizes the civilian air fleet in accordance with the national airlift policy. This practice means personnel work around the clock to assess cargo requirements, airfield capabilities, and aircraft availability to determine the best means for supporting the mission.
The flight managers and personnel at the 618 AOC are experts at balancing the operational needs of the mission while ensuring military aircrews are getting the training and experience they need to maintain readiness.
This seamless coordination ensures that the mobility forces are ready to respond whenever and wherever they are needed.
It is evident that this collaboration between the 618 AOC and commercially contracted carriers is successful. This partnership ensures that AMC continues to provide Rapid Global Mobility around the world.