First families arrive at Ramstein from Turkey

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The first group of families arrived at Ramstein at approximately 3 p.m. today after the Department of State and the Secretary of Defense approved the ordered departure of dependents of service members and Department of Defense civilian personnel currently stationed in Adana, Izmir, and Mugla, Turkey. 

As dependents depart Turkey, Ramstein has been designated as a 'transition location' for families to await travel to their subsequent duty locations. However, a number of families will relocate to Ramstein for an extended period of time.

The decision for dependents to depart Turkey allows for the deliberate, safe return of family members from these areas due to continued security concerns in the region. Although the decision was not reached easily; it is based upon past practice, ongoing and maturing military operations, and keeping employees and families' best interests at the front of the decision-making process.

As the number of personnel grows on the base, support agencies at Ramstein stand ready to meet the needs of the newest members of Team Ramstein.

"It has been impressive to watch so many of our base organizations come together and be prepared to help our Air Force family members as soon as they get here," said Master Sgt. Chad Oswold, 721st Aerial Port Squadron, passenger operations NCOIC . "I think we are really ready for anything. Some of the agencies that are set up to help the incoming travelers include pre-coordinated hotel reservations and customs procedures, American Red Cross services, travel specialist to assist with onward travel reservations and many other.

The capabilities we have as a base is just amazing," Oswald continued. "It takes a lot of people to make this happen and to see Team Ramstein come together to make this all happen is just on a different level."

According to the U.S. European Command, the removal of dependants will facilitate the safe departure of family members from Turkey.

The safety and security of military families is a top priority and they intend to mitigate the risk to DOD elements and personnel, including family members, within the authorities and means of the command, while ensuring the combat effectiveness of U.S. forces and mission support to operations in Turkey.

Military dependents are a huge part of the Air Force family and making sure they are taken care of will be a top priority as they arrive at Ramstein.

"We're all one family and these folks are going to remember this for the rest of their lives," said Lt. Col. Nathan Tarkowski, 86th Mission Support Group deputy commander. "We want them to remember that the 86th AW was there for them when they needed it the most."