Ramstein bids farewell to the 38th EAS

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ciara M. Travis
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Infamous for the support they provide, the 38th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron here will be inactivated on or about Sept. 15.

More commonly known as "Delta Squadron," the unit began in RAF Mildenhall, England. In response to an increased demand for airlift missions to the Balkan region, was moved to Rhein-Main, Germany, in 1990. By 1994, the squadron assumed its mission at Ramstein.

"We provide extra airlift capability to reduce the strain on the active-duty folks who support not only U.S. Air Forces in Europe, but Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom as well," said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Merritt, 38th EAS C-130H2 Hercules flight engineer. "I really enjoyed the opportunity to support the U.S. Africa Command mission while I was at Ramstein. They gave me the chance to not only see parts of Africa I had not seen before, but challenged me as a flyer."

The 38th EAS is unique in the 86th Operations Group, as it is comprised of a variety of Guard and Reserve unit members. Currently, the squadron consists largely of people from the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio. Its focus is to provide mission-ready forces, airlift operations and base support.

"As an expeditionary unit made of Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard personnel, we have done an exemplary job of practicing the concept of total force," said Maj. Joseph George, 38th EAS director of operations. "We are a small unit that supports a vast stretch of land with only three crews and two aircraft."

With short missions lasting anywhere from one to 16 days, members of the 38th EAS keep very busy, supporting Ramstein's commitments to U.S. European Command, AFRICOM and USAFE.

"In the past, this has been a 'win-win' situation for both Team Ramstein and the reservists," said Maj. Gary Dodge, 38th EAS commander. "Team Ramstein gets additional aircraft to relieve some of the flying strain on the active-duty squadron, while the rotational squadrons from the Guard and Reserve get valuable experience flying in Europe and Africa, something they cannot get stateside."

While at Ramstein, the squadron was instrumental to the success of Operations Joint Endeavor, Joint Force, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Since 2005, the unit has logged more than 14,000 flying hours, carrying nearly 13,500 tons of cargo to various locations.

Along with providing medical supplies and aid when needed, the 38th EAS has also supported several other major events, such as NASA missions, and assisted with the 65th anniversary at Normandy, France.

"I am a traditional reservist and have been here for Operation Enterprise [formerly called Joint Forge] six times," Major Dodge said. "Each time I have been here, I've been surrounded by great men and women from my unit who are very good at what they do. This translates into mission success for Team Ramstein."

The success witnessed at Ramstein is not only thanks to active-duty members stationed here long term, but also to the Guard and Reserve members who are stationed here temporarily.

"Since the 86th became an airlift wing, Guard and Reserve service, in Delta and later the 38th EAS, has been absolutely critical to accomplishing our mission," said Col. Tim Budd, 86th Operations Group commander. "Most recently, we couldn't have made the transition to the C-130J without them."