EC leadership visits award winning AMOW

  • Published
  • U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center
Maj. Gen. Christopher Bence, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Larry Williams, USAF EC, command chief, visited with Airmen assigned to the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Nov. 1-9.

The 521st AMOW consists of more than 2,700 personnel divided into two groups and 10 squadrons spread across seven bases, and oversees the Expeditionary Center and Air Mobility Command’s en route operations. The wing provides all command and control, en route maintenance support, and air transportation services for theater and strategic air mobility missions in Europe and Southwest Asia.

During their visit, Bence and Williams met with Airmen assigned to 721st Aerial Port Squadron, the 721st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 313th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron at Ramstein AB, the 726th AMS at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and the 724th AMS at Aviano Air Base, Italy and the 727th AMS at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom.

“As 18th Air Force launches C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster missions, the 521st AMOW and its supporting squadrons maintain that continuous presence in Europe and the Middle East to ensure global mobility can be ‘RAPID’,” said Col. Thomas Cooper, 521st AMOW, commander.

The 521st AMOW, along with the 515th AMOW headquartered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and the 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group at Pope Field, North Carolina, make up one of four lines of efforts that are Responsive Joint Basing and Installation Support, Agile Contingency Response Operations, Persistent Global En Route Operations and Innovative Expeditionary Education and Training.

"We like to say we put the 'RAPID' in Rapid Global Mobility," Bence said. "The persistent posture of the 521st AMOW ensures the support needed to project air power is in place and ready to go at a moment's notice. One thing we can't surge in a crisis are relationships, and the AMOW's presence ensures our relationships with allies and friends remains."

With such a vast span of responsibility, the 521st AMOW relies on each squadron to take ownership of their unique missions.

“Each squadron has a different design and mission,” Cooper said. “For that reason, empowering squadron-level leadership has been integral to the success of the 521st AMOW mission.”

Readiness being at the forefront of Air Force leaderships’ priorities, the 521st is focused on changing the wing from an execution mentality to a readiness mindset.

“The hardest mission is yet to come, whether it’s in European Command, Central Command or Africa Command,” Cooper said. “To overcome this, we are conducting tabletop exercises to examine readiness, instituted facility, manpower and fiscal requirement reviews to ensure each unit has the tools needed to complete their mission, conducted multiple developmental events to grow our best leaders and we’ve completely redesigned the commander’s inspection programs.”

When Cooper took command in June of 2016, the 521st AMOW Airmen had earned the wing its 6th consecutive Meritorious Unit Award, but that streak did not end there.

“Soon after I took command I knew it was my job to ensure they had the tools necessary to sustain the success of this wing at supporting combat operations,” Cooper said. “But it was due to the hard work of the awesome AMOW Airmen, that a seventh Meritorious Unit Award was awarded in September.”