Thousands of Airmen, civilians and their families call Ramstein Air Base, home. With one of the busiest flightlines in the U.S. Air Force, Ramstein serves as a Global Gateway to Europe and beyond. The 76th Airlift Squadron plays a crucial role in supporting Ramstein’s mission set.
The 76 AS is performs multiple functions to make this possible, including its executive airlift and aeromedical evacuation missions. With their expertise, they ensure passengers arrive at their destinations safely and ready to carry out their business.
“The main responsibility of the 76 AS is distinguished visitor airlift,” said Maj. Michael Booth, 76 AS chief executive officer. “We mostly fly higher level officials whether it’s military members or civilians. We can take them where they need to go.”
The 76 AS operates two different airframes to carry out their operations.
“We operate two different aircraft, the C-21 and the C-37,” said Lt. Col. Melissa Dombrock, the 76 AS commander. “The C-21’s primary role is operational support airlift, which includes the distinguished visitor airlift as well as defense courier and small cargo service.”
In addition to supporting regular DV airlift, the 76 AS provides vital theater support in the form of their aeromedical evacuation mission.
“We perform the unique function of the aeromedical evacuation piece of the mission,” Dombrock said. “We are the only (24 hours a day seven days a week and 365 days a year) armed forces in Europe with dedicated aircraft and are on alert in this part of the world. So we perform the patient movement and medical support across all of Europe and Africa.”
While the 76 AS plays a key role in logistical movements of both DV’s and cargo, Maj. Michael Booth, 76 AS chief executive officer, finds the AE mission the most fulfilling.
“It’s definitely my favorite part of the job,” Booth said. “It gives me a high level of job satisfaction to know I’m helping one of our Airmen get back safely. It’s one of the many reasons I love my job.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the airlift units across the U.S. Air Force moved cargo such as personal protective equipment and test kits to help combat the spread, and the 76 AS was no exception.
“We moved a good amount of cargo during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Booth said. “Our planes are a little smaller, but it doesn’t mean we couldn’t help out where we could. Even though the pandemic stretched us kind of thin, it didn’t stop us from doing our best and getting the job done.”
In an airlift squadron feeling multiple roles, deadlines and last minute tasks can create a stressful work environment. Booth believes the Airmen of the 76 AS and the supportive community they’ve created are the real key to the squadron’s successes.
“I work with some amazing people here,” Booth said. “We are always trying to help each other out. A lot of people here have different thing going on in their lives that can stress them out. It’s good to know we have teammates who back each other up.”
As the largest U.S. installation in Europe, Ramstein’s units are performing monumental tasks every day. The work may keep the 76 AS busy, but Booth wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We are such a tight group here,” Booth said. “My last unit was pretty big and we really didn’t know one other very well. Here, we know each other’s spouses and kids’ names. I love the fact we are so close here. I think it makes a more comfortable setting and I’m proud to be part of this unit.”