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52nd FW supports OAW, maintains mission

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III assigned to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, prepares to land on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, near a row of parked Air Mobility Command cargo aircraft Aug. 27, 2021.

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III assigned to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, prepares to land on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, near a row of parked Air Mobility Command cargo aircraft Aug. 27, 2021. In support of contingency mission overflow from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, the 52nd Operations Support Squadron as well as 726th Air Mobility Squadron transitioned to 24-hour airfield operations and employed contingency parking plans to accommodate increased heavy airlift presence. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

A Republic of Singapore Air Force A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft taxis behind a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft after landing on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021.

A Republic of Singapore Air Force A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft taxis behind a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft after landing on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021. The RSAF A330 multi-role tanker transport is equipped to provide aerial refuelling, transport and medical configuration capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

U.S. Air Force buses wait to transport newly arrived members of the Singapore Armed Forces on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021.

U.S. Air Force buses wait to transport newly arrived members of the Singapore Armed Forces on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021. The Singapore Armed Forces is working alongside partners like the United States in order to provide a safe and secure passage for displaced families and evacuees from Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

A Republic of Singapore Air Force A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft taxis on the runway of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021.

A Republic of Singapore Air Force A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft taxis on the runway of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021. The Singapore Armed Forces is working alongside partners like the United States in order to provide a safe and secure passage for displaced families and evacuees from Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

Republic of Singapore Air Force personnel perform pre-flight checks on a RSAF A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft.

Republic of Singapore Air Force personnel perform pre-flight checks on a RSAF A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft next to a row of U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 29, 2021. From Aug. 27-30, the 52nd Fighter Wing and 726th Air Mobility Squadron partnered with Singapore Armed Forces personnel to aid Afghanistan evacuation operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

Republic of Singapore Air Force personnel and a U.S. Air Force Airman from the 726th Air Mobility Squadron load cargo onto a RSAF A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft.

Republic of Singapore Air Force personnel and a U.S. Air Force Airman from the 726th Air Mobility Squadron load cargo onto a RSAF A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 29, 2021. A contingency of Singapore Armed Forces members, made up of aircrew, engineers and security forces, arrived at Spangdahlem AB in order to fly multiple iterations of transport for up to 200 evacuees from Afghanistan at a time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

Republic of Singapore Air Force work with a U.S. Air Force Airman to load cargo onto a RSAF A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft.

Republic of Singapore Air Force personnel guide U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Gilchrist, 726th Air Mobility Squadron aircraft services supervisor, as they load cargo onto a RSAF A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft using a Tunner 60K aircraft cargo loader on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 29, 2021. The Singapore Armed Forces members, who arrived at Spangdahlem AB Aug. 27, allied with Airmen from the 52nd Fighter Wing and 726th AMS to provide additional support to the Afghanistan evacuation operations. The RSAF members’ faces were blurred for security. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Gilchrist, 726th Air Mobility Squadron aircraft services supervisor, uses a Tunner 60K aircraft cargo loader to load cargo onto a Republic of Singapore Air Force A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 30, 2021.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Gilchrist, 726th Air Mobility Squadron aircraft services supervisor, uses a Tunner 60K aircraft cargo loader to load cargo onto a Republic of Singapore Air Force A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 30, 2021. From Aug. 27-30, the 52nd Fighter Wing and 726th AMS partnered with Singapore Armed Forces personnel to aid Afghanistan evacuation operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

A Republic of Singapore Air Force personnel guides U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Gilchrist, 726th Air Mobility Squadron aircraft services supervisor, as he operates a Tunner 60K aircraft cargo loader on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 29, 2021.

A Republic of Singapore Air Force personnel guides U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Gilchrist, 726th Air Mobility Squadron aircraft services supervisor, as he operates a Tunner 60K aircraft cargo loader on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 29, 2021. The Singapore Armed Forces worked alongside allied partners like the United States during Operation Allies Refuge in order to provide safe and secure passage for displaced families and evacuees from Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

U.S. Air Force crew members board a Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021.
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U.S. Air Force crew members board a Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021. The 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem AB supports both combat Air Force missions and air mobility missions with one flight line to maintain postured forces ready to support mission or contingency response. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Leonard Bond, 726th Air Mobility Squadron aircraft electrical and environmental technician, marshals a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft assigned to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, after it landed on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021.
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Leonard Bond, 726th Air Mobility Squadron aircraft electrical and environmental technician, marshals a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft assigned to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, after it landed on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021. The 726th AMS, a partner unit to the 52nd Fighter Wing on Spangdahlem AB, supports a wide range of cargo and passenger aircraft transitioning through the installation for missions and contingencies throughout the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Leonard Bond, 726th Air Mobility Squadron aircraft electrical and environmental technician, waits to marshal a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft assigned to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, after it landed on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021.
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Leonard Bond, 726th Air Mobility Squadron aircraft electrical and environmental technician, waits to marshal a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft assigned to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, after it landed on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021. The C-17, the most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force, is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, lands on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021.
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A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, lands on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021. Though the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem AB maintains and employs F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets, it also enables U.S. power projection by supporting Air Mobility Command's air mobility operations throughout Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, lands on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021.
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A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, lands on the flightline of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 27, 2021. The 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem AB supports both combat Air Force missions and air mobility missions with one flight line to maintain postured forces ready to support mission or contingency response. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Raymond Fields, 52nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control specialist, peers through his binoculars as a commercial airliner taxis onto the Spangdahlem Air Base runway at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Raymond Fields, 52nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control specialist, peers through his binoculars as a commercial airliner taxis onto the Spangdahlem Air Base runway at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. Air traffic controllers ensure the base’s surrounding airspace is controlled so aircraft can take off and land safely. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Warren Spearman)

A Patriot Express airline taxis on the flightline at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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A Patriot Express airline taxis on the flightline at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. Spangdahlem AB began accepting Patriot Express flights to lighten the air traffic at Ramstein Air Base, Germany while it supports the Afghanistan evacuation efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Warren Spearman)

A commercial airline lands at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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A commercial airline lands at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. The 726th Air Mobility Squadron at Spangdahlem AB is augmenting Afghanistan evacuation efforts by accepting diverted Patriot Express aircraft carrying U.S. military personnel and their families on their way to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Warren Spearman)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kelly Laws, 52nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control specialist, checks the computer in Spangdahlem Air Base’s air traffic control tower and coordinates air traffic at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kelly Laws, 52nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control specialist, checks the computer in Spangdahlem Air Base’s air traffic control tower and coordinates air traffic at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. The unit's Airmen manage flight operations seven days a week from a ground controlled approach complex and control tower facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Warren Spearman)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Rood, 52nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control specialist, discusses information about an incoming flight at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Rood, 52nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control specialist, discusses information about an incoming flight at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. The unit's Airmen manage flight operations seven days a week from a ground controlled approach complex and control tower facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Warren Spearman)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Graybill, 726th Air Mobility Squadron Air Terminal Operations Center controller, checks ID tags on passenger luggage on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Graybill, 726th Air Mobility Squadron Air Terminal Operations Center controller, checks ID tags on passenger luggage on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. The 726th Air Mobility Squadron, a partner unit on Spangdahlem AB without any permanently assigned aircraft, belongs to Air Mobility Command for administration, but it plays a large role in supporting the 52nd Fighter Wing and operations across U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

Pets who recently disembarked from a Patriot Express passenger aircraft wait for their owners to pick them up on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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Pets who recently disembarked from a Patriot Express passenger aircraft wait for their owners to pick them up on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. The 726th Air Mobility Squadron at Spangdahlem AB is augmenting Afghanistan evacuation efforts by accepting diverted Patriot Express aircraft carrying U.S. military personnel and their families on their way to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brett Bellemore, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Air Transportation Function superintendent, offloads luggage from a Patriot Express passenger jet on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brett Bellemore, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Air Transportation Function superintendent, offloads luggage from a Patriot Express passenger jet on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. Nearly 70 passengers bound for either Spangdahlem AB or Ramstein Air Base, Germany, disembarked from the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Erin Billings, 726th Air Mobility Squadron passenger service agent, drives a stair truck to offload passengers from a Patriot Express passenger jet on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Erin Billings, 726th Air Mobility Squadron passenger service agent, drives a stair truck to offload passengers from a Patriot Express passenger jet on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. Spangdahlem AB, home to the 52nd Fighter Wing, has surged operations to continue both its F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet mission and additional Patriot Express operations carrying U.S. military and their families to reduce air traffic at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, who is supporting ongoing Afghanistan evacuation efforts by the U.S. Department of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

Tim Mesecar, 52nd Maintenance Squadron Transit Alert assistant site manager, marshals a Patriot Express passenger jet on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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Tim Mesecar, 52nd Maintenance Squadron Transit Alert assistant site manager, marshals a Patriot Express passenger jet on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. Due to ongoing operations by the U.S. Department of Defense to evacuate personnel from Afghanistan, Spangdahlem AB is supporting Patriot Express operations flying inbound U.S. military personnel and their families typically routed to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

Passengers disembark from a Patriot Express commercial airline at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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Passengers disembark from a Patriot Express commercial airline at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. The 726th Air Mobility Squadron at Spangdahlem AB is augmenting Afghanistan evacuation efforts by accepting diverted Patriot Express aircraft carrying U.S. military personnel and their families on their way to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Warren Spearman)

Passengers disembark from a Patriot Express passenger jet on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021.
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Passengers disembark from a Patriot Express passenger jet on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Aug. 23, 2021. Patriot Express flights are operated by commercial airlines and contracted by the Department of Defense to provide transportation for military members, dependents and civil service employees. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --

In the weeks following the official end of the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, Ramstein Air Base has been supporting Operation Allies Welcome by processing approximately 34,100 evacuees, making Ramstein AB the largest reception port for evacuees within U.S. European Command as of Aug. 20.

In order for the 52nd Fighter Wing to support OAR efforts at Ramstein AB, Spangdahlem Air Base hosted a massive increase in cargo and passenger aircraft, all while maintaining its normal fighter jet operations and global deterrence mission.

“We are currently manned for 16-hour days when it comes to airfield operating hours,” said 1st Lt. Jennifer Beckley, 52nd Operations Support Squadron director of operations of the Airfield Operations Flight. “We have flexed to 24/7 operations for the past three weeks in order to support the OAR mission.”

This support for OAR resulted in a total of 8,624 man hours from Airfield Operations.

During normal operations, the 52nd Fighter Wing typically will have 20-30 sortie missions per day, as well as a certain amount of aircraft occupancy allowed on the ground at any given time, all while being one of the only wings in U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa maintaining the Security of Enemy Air Defense mission. On the Air Mobility Command side, a typical day consists of one to three missions per day.

During OAR, however, the wing almost doubled the amount of aircraft allotted on the airfield.

“We were able to accomplish this by accurately measuring the ramp space that we have,” Beckley said. “The 52nd Civil Engineering Squadron guys were out there putting down markings in ample time and expedited this entire process in being able to support OAR as well as our AMC mission.”

While the wing was supporting OAR, the mission at the 52nd FW never slowed down.

“Because of the requirement for training to maintain pilot proficiency, as well as ensuring our jets are operation-ready at a moment’s notice, we cannot afford to stop our mission here,” said Lt. Col. John Powers, 52nd FW Operations Support Squadron commander. “No matter what is happening, we have to keep our 480th Fighter Squadron going and ensure they are mission-ready at all times.”

“While all of OAR is going on, we still have our missions to support,” Beckley said. “Our mission is still to deter aggression and make sure our fighter pilots here are getting the training and the reps that they need. We were not responsible for slowing down our normal operations at all.”

Powers said he is amazed at the flexibility that the 52nd FW has shown throughout the past few weeks in supporting OAR while maintaining home station operations.

“I think we’ve made it very clear that we are a flexible force,” Powers said. “Spangdahlem AB is already unique in that we have the 480th FS mission, as well as the AMC mission on the 726 Air Mobility Squadron side. We have shown that we are multi-capable Airmen that can handle a unique mission here at Spangdahlem AB all while supporting OAR.”

“The things that our Airmen are able to do on such short notice, just because they’re asked … it’s truly inspiring and powerful,” said Beckley.

Col. Leslie Hauck, 52nd FW commander, said he could not be more proud of the Airmen at the 52nd FW.

“The 52nd FW and our mission partners here are always ready and capable, and we are happy to help support OAR,” said Hauck. “I’m proud of all the Airmen stationed here for their tenacity and professionalism, and for their ability to continue to be a premiere fighting force while flexing to support a major humanitarian crisis on such short notice.”