727th AMS poised to meet needs of NextGen AMOW

  • Published
  • By Maj. Christopher Bowyer-Meeder
  • U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center

Maj. Gen. John Klein, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Courtney Freeman, USAFEC command chief, conducted a unit immersion with the 727th Air Mobility Squadron, here, Feb. 22, 2023, as part of their visit with units of the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing throughout Europe.

The fact that the visit happened at Royal Air Force Mildenhall was an accomplishment in and of itself. As a result of the 2015 European Infrastructure Consolidation Plan the installation was expected to close down, however the plan was changed in the summer of 2020 when then Secretary of Defense Mark Esper made the decision to keep the base open. Now in a period known as “post-closure,” the 727th AMS is using the opportunity to properly organize, train and equip Airmen to support the 521st AMOW in becoming a Next Generation Air Mobility Operations Wing, or NextGen AMOW.

“To achieve the objectives of the NextGen AMOW, we would need to restructure the squadron from a manning perspective; not a growth in manning, but a restructuring in manning,” said Maj. Kevin Evans, 727th AMS commander. “By the theory of an Air Mobility Team, we already operate under that construct, however, we do not meet the intent of the size of an AMT. At any given time, we can send out a team of about four or five to support our home-station mission and still have a forward presence.”

As the team identifies the appropriate way to accomplish the Rapid Global Mobility mission, the commander of the 521st AMOW, Col. Dan Cooley sees a chance to expand the Global Air Mobility Support System.

“There’s potential for huge growth and huge nodal capacity change if we posture it the right way,” said Cooley.

The 727th AMS leadership team sees significance in their role as a leading edge for Air Mobility Command in Europe and sees it as their goal to be a strategic military asset.

“Our intent is to make the squadron an enticing, viable option for [the 618th Air Operations Center] to increase airlift,” said Maj. Scott Conrad, 727th AMS director of operations. “Being over here, being AMC’s touch point, working with partner nations – it’s a great opportunity.”

The USAFEC commander also made note of the significance of the squadron and where it sits.

“Where you are located, here in the U.K. is a strategic location,” he said during a breakfast with Airmen. “As we develop AMTs, this location is in a unique position to be able to lift and shift force packages anywhere throughout Europe.”