76th AS performs VIP mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Scott Saldukas
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Airmen stationed around the world are generally familiar with the capabilities of an airlift squadron, but the 76th AS here has a mission slightly different than normal.

The operational aspect of the 76th AS includes supporting congressional delegation members, combatant commanders and active-duty distinguished visitors from every branch of service by helping them maintain relations between the U.S. and foreign counterparts. In addition, the 76th AS provides evacuation support when needed.

"The squadron focuses on outstanding service to our nation, our customers and our fellow Airmen as encompassed by the phrase '76th spirit,'" said Staff Sgt. Jason Hutton, 76th AS communication system operator. "The 76th spirit isn't something that is left at the aircraft. It is integral to every element of on- and off-duty conduct."

Members of the 76th take pride in their work, knowing it affects not only the Ramstein mission, but the Air Force mission as a whole.

"The 76th mission affects both the Ramstein and Air Force mission because of the kind of personnel we fly," said Staff Sgt. Vanessa Maya-Jacobson, 76th AS flight attendant. "Our leaders depend on us to fly them to where they need to go safely and comfortably. This is important for them to make our nation's decisions."

Aside from DV flights, the squadron also supports humanitarian missions worldwide.

"We have donated to an orphanage in Africa and provided Haiti earthquake relief; part of our mission is providing presidential support and international diplomacy partnership missions," Sergeant Maya-Jacobson said. "Also, the newest happenings in the squadron are the arrival of a C-37 aircraft which is a worldwide jet to augment our DV mission support."

As the mission is susceptible to change at any time, the crew must be on their toes for anything thrown their way.

"There isn't a normal day for the 76th," the flight attendant said. "If we aren't flying, we have an operations briefing at 8:30 a.m. missions come down and we prepare as necessary," Sergeant Maya-Jacobson. As a flight attendant, we need to make sure our shopping is done for any missions we may have. We also try to prepare as much as possible in our kitchen."

To complete the mission at hand, the squadron has approximately 100 members, C-40B Clipper, C-20H Gulfstream IV, C-21 and a C-37 aircraft. Without these assets, the squadron's mission would not be successful.

"Ramstein is a high-visibility base with numerous leadership personnel coming in and out and they would not be able to do it with such ease and comfort without the 76th," Sergeant Hutton said.

A smooth mission is critical for the operations the squadron encounters day to day.

"It is absolutely crucial that members of the 76th perform their mission well," said Senior Master Sgt. Wade Hardeman, 76th AS superintendent. "Our users enable face-to-face meetings with foreign dignitaries and military leaders throughout the European and African Theater, build partnerships that facilitate our allies' development and bolster our national security. Finally, the work ethic of the 76th Airlift Squadron is phenomenal."