89th AS provides world-wide support

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joel Mccullough
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The Reserve Citizen Airman concept is built on a strong heritage of operational readiness and excellence and a legacy of outstanding service.

The 89th Airlift Squadron embodies that concept, providing combat-ready Airmen and world class strategic airlift to combatant commanders in support of national security objectives.

Lt. Col. Francis Saul III, 89th AS commander, said there’s a large list of missions the squadron supports, including Air Mobility Command, who they support six months a year with two full-time crews made up of three pilots and two loadmasters.

“At any given time, we could have one tail [C-17 aircraft] out supporting the Air Mobility Command contingency,” Saul said. “Those are real-world missions.”

Additionally, Saul said they support U.S. Africa Command missions to Niger, West Africa, most of which are resupply and large exercises. Those missions are flown at least once a month.

The 89th AS also provides support to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Special Operations Command, the Ohio National Guard, Civil Air Patrol, Air Force Reserve Command plus other active-duty Air Force units.

Saul said the relationships they have built facilitate not only networking, but win-win scenarios that provide opportunities for real-world, joint force training and are better for Airman.

The 89th AS flies local missions such as air refueling, take-offs and landings and night vision goggle training.

“Within 24 hours, we want to be ready to step out the door,” he explained. “For us, it’s staying continuously ready for flying missions on a daily basis, keeping that linear readiness.”

Saul said the wing has nine aircraft that fly missions going all over the world, sometimes on a moment’s notice.

“No month is ever the same, no week is ever the same,” Saul said. “It’s busy, lots of moving parts, but it keeps everyone proficient and qualified.”

At home, the 89th supports the 445th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. The teamwork between them facilitates their training and completes flight hours and qualifications.

“The 89th Airlift Squadron provides the key element for AES to maintain its proficiency throughout the year,” said Maj. Nathaniel Copen, 445th AES director of operations.

“Without the C-17 aircraft, we wouldn’t be able to conduct as much training as we do each month to meet our readiness requirements,” Copen explained. “We are fortunate to have them in our backyard.”

Additionally, Saul said it’s a “no-brainer” to have AES, maintenance, aerial port, aircrew flight equipment or any other 445th Airlift Wing squadron training alongside them. It provides all sides better training and builds appreciation for each other.

Saul’s end goal for his squadron is to create an environment where “Rhinos” (what members call themselves based on the unit mascot) look forward to participating, achieving their goals, forming lasting relationships, serving with distinction and accomplishing our mission safely.