By MS. BETTY BARR, STAFF WRITER
Nearly everyone knows the Air Mobility Command’s (AMC) mission is Rapid global mobility … Right effects, right place, right time! But what does achieving this mission look like?
The 618th Air Operations Center (AOC) exemplifies AMC’s mission statement through its unrivaled command of mobility operations. Located at Scott Air Force Base(AFB), IL, the 618 AOC is, in fact, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) largest air operations center. The 618 AOC has been offering quick responses to global crises and humanitarian emergencies for more than 30 years. However, it does not let its impressive legacy lead to complacency. Below are a few recent examples of how the 618 AOC has excelled in using global mobility to provide humanitarian relief.
On Dec. 6, 2018, six Marines perished when a KC-130J Hercules and an F/A-18 Hornet collided while refueling in midair, off the coast of Japan. The 618 AOC received a short-notice assignment to help the U.S. Navy salvage operations by transporting the Salvage Recovery Package from Travis AFB, CA, to Kadena Air Base, Japan. The 618 AOC sourced, arranged, and executed the transport of 221 short tons of equipment, including deep-sea search-and-recovery and specialized outsized equipment.
“Where a move of this type and complexity may have taken months, the actions of the 60th Aerial Port Squadron [Travis AFB, CA] members and our 618 AOC Global Channel Directorate System Director ‘Bookies’ decreased the move time to less than 9 days,” explained Randy Finney, Division Chief, Global Distribution Channel Operations.
When the recovery operation was completed, the 618 AOC Global Channel Aerial Port Control Center sourced and coordinated the return mission, arranging for transport of the recovered human remains in coordination with the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Office to Dover AFB, DE. The fallen warriors were returned to their loved ones with dignity and ceremony.
The COVID-19 pandemic put the world into emergency mode. Since the onset of COVID, 618 AOC has led DoD pandemic response efforts. The 618 AOC has managed the global transport of patients, vaccines, test kits, ventilators, and other medical equipment to Americans stateside and abroad and to U.S. allies, helping communities to respond more effectively to a novel, unforeseen, and potentially deadly situation.
One noteworthy effort was the delivery of a large mobile field hospital in July 2021 to the Suriname Ministry of Health in South America, which was orchestrated by the 618 AOC and U.S. Southern Command(SOUTHCOM). The hospital was donated to Suriname by SOUTHCOM to help local communities cope with the pandemic but will remain to continue meeting the medical needs of the Surinamese people.
In February 2021, Winter Storm Uri—reputedly the worst polar vortex to hit Texas since 1989—caused power outages and frozen water pipes. Millions of Texans had to boil their water before using it. The 618 AOC planned and coordinated the transport of bottled water to staging facilities throughout the state.
“In response to [Federal Emergency Management Agency] requests, and under the purview of [the] U.S. Northern Command, AMC Total Force Airmen have delivered nearly 700,000 bottles of water on 19 C-17 and C-130 missions over the past week,” said Gen Jaqueline Van Ovost, then Commander of AMC. “AMC’s Airmen are proud and honored to deliver hope to those in need, at home, or abroad.”
These examples are just a few of the ways in which the 618 AOC has clearly demonstrated tremendous success in its recent humanitarian relief operations. Sadly, there will always be unfortunate circumstances that arise worldwide. Therefore, the 618 AOC will continue to employ rapid global mobility by having the right effects, at the right place, and at the right time!
Brings together 800 active duty, Reserve, National Guard, civilian, and contractor personnel to support global mobility operations.
Commands a fleet of nearly 1,100 mobility aircraft.
Maintains 24/7 operations, working around-the-clock to best meet the demands of the mission.