621st, 321st AMOS answer the call during Hurricanes Harvey, Irma

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing
The 621st Contingency Response Wing assisted with support from the 621st Air Mobility Advisory Group during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief efforts.

Hurricane Harvey landed in East Texas on Aug. 25, causing more than 50 inches of flooding in some parts of the state. Hurricane Irma soon followed making landfall Sept. 6 in parts of the Caribbean and is predicted to hit Florida. Air Mobility Command directed allocation of its airlift, aeromedical evacuation and contingency response assets to federal Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, as requested by U.S. Northern Command Aug. 30.

The 621st AMAG answered the call sending seven members from the 621st Air Mobility Operations Squadron stationed here, and four members of the 321st Air Mobility Operations Squadron stationed at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. In addition to this initial request, a member of the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron stationed at Travis AFB was also tasked to support. From Tyndall AFB, members of the AMAG are augmenting multiple positions at the 601st Air Operation Center and Air Mobility Division to include tanker plans, airlift plans, aeromedical evacuation plans, the regional air mobility coordination center, and the AMD deputy chief to provide critical information during the relief efforts.

“When a contingency or emergency happens, we at the AMOS are deployed to augment the AOC responsible for the airlift in that region,” said Capt. Jacob Miller, 621st AMOS airlift control team chief. “Here we are responsible for updating the brief for AFNORTH, requesting and tracking Joint Operational Support Airlift Center requests, and documenting airlift.”

According to Capt. Scott Carlan, 321st AMOS air refueling control team planner, the AOCs are typically manned for day-to-day operations. During contingencies, augmentation is required in order to increase the AOCs battle rhythm to a full 24-hour schedule as well as to handle the increased workload of intensified operations.

“Every AOC is different in how they conduct business,” Carlan said. “The AMOS' are the first line of defense for augmentation as we are not only the most rapid response [12 hours] when a call for augmentation comes down, but we're also considered the subject matter experts in our career field's command and control application because we augment and experience all of the geographic AOCs on a regular basis.”

According to Miller, the AMOS’ continuously train in order to maintain proficiency to better prepare for disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. As part of this preparation, in early August, the 621st AMOS participated in exercise Mobility Guardian.

“The biggest preparation it provided was gathering and documenting airlift that we were not actually responsible for planning,” he said. “This prepared me for the researching required to ensure the airlift accomplished is documented correctly via phone calls and data mining to deliver the information to the Joint Force Air Component Commander.”

“It's not every day that we get called on to do real world operations,” Carlan said. “When we do, it not only validates our training and experiences, but it fills us with a sense of pride that we get to help our fellow citizens through some very trying times.”