The 726th Air Mobility Squadron: A true testament to Mission, Airmen, Community

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chance Nardone
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The roar of the 52nd Fighter Wing’s F-16 Fighting Falcons can be heard throughout the surrounding areas of Spangdahlem Air Base, but they aren’t the only aircraft mission the base holds.

The 726th Air Mobility Squadron, a partner unit on the base without any permanently assigned aircraft, may technically belong to Air Mobility Command for administration, but it plays a large role in supporting the wing and the United States Air Forces in Europe and Africa.

“Our mission is to execute rapid global mobility,” said Tech. Sgt. Adam King, 726th AMS support section chief. “We are a key staging point for cargo aircraft before they depart to their final destinations with precious cargo and passengers.”

Almost every day there are aircraft coming in and out of the 726th AMS. To reach the next destination, they must be inspected prior to their next takeoff.

“My everyday job is to inspect and maintain any cargo aircraft for major issues that can cause the aircraft to not fly safely,” says Senior Airman Alberto Lara, 726th AMS crew chief. “For example, we refuel and marshal the aircraft to ensure on-time take-off and the delivery of crew and cargo. We also perform any unscheduled maintenance corrective actions such as changing tires, filters, oil, hydraulic fluids, troubleshooting wires, computers, and system faults.”

There are times where aircraft need more than the routine maintenance and the 726th steps up to the challenge.

“We’re not just a simple gas-n-go, but an extremely qualified maintenance unit that in recent past has changed C-17 engines, resolved ‘uncommanded flight control movement’, depot-level wiring repair that’s usually accomplished by Boeing or Lockheed Martin, and we are the first ACE [Agile Combat Employment] unit in the Air Mobility Command,” says King.

The 726th AMS plays an important role in the 52 FW’s ACE mission by supporting rapid combat movements of personnel and equipment to any location the wing goes. 

“We are the 52nd FW’s number one source of combat deployment mobility,” said King. “When it comes time for them to deploy, it’s the 726th AMS that ensures their passengers and cargo are loaded onto mechanically sound aircraft.

Though aircraft are constantly moving in and out of Spangdahlem, Lara says the work is rewarding and he enjoys meeting all the passengers who pass through.

“I gain a sense of accomplishment knowing the aircraft is repaired to standards, and once the jet is leaving our airspace, it’s always a pleasure seeing the condensation trails on top of the wings on a humid, cloudy day,” said Lara. “My favorite part of the job is being able to meet different people from around the world and sharing stories with the crew and passengers. I’m not much of a person who likes to sit at a desk all day so being able to work on my feet is extremely nice, even on the days we are working for 12 hours catching and launching jets.”

With a crew working around the clock, the 726th AMS not only gets the job done but has been recognized for excelling in doing so.

“Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, we are employed in maintenance actions, ensuring all aircraft that leave are capable of seeing their mission through to completion,” said King. “The outstanding efforts of our maintenance teams ensure the 726th remains the pinnacle of maintenance quality, capability, and professionalism. This is further illustrated by 13 straight years of Meritorious and Outstanding Unit Awards and team members being nominated for awards at the Air Force level.”

King and Lara both say members of the 726th, while working hard to accomplish the mission, seek to become closer outside of the job.

“The 726th is a melting pot of people from all over, who right away become family,” says King. “In a place where people are constantly moving in and out, it’s amazing how easily the unit remains unified. Between maintenance, passenger travel, air transportation, and even the winter deployed Air National Guard de-ice team, everyone quickly becomes family as though they’ve known each other for years. Shifts often become very tight-knit, taking snowboarding and vacation trips all around Europe together.”