When people think of the Air Force, they often think of gigantic cargo planes carrying tanks by air into war zones and supersonic jets soaring through the vast blue sky.
But the Air Force is much bigger than most peoples’ imaginations. Although these common conceptions of the Air Force are not far from reality, the true scope of its mission goes much deeper.
The 86th Mission Support Group is one of the pillars of the 86th Airlift Wing. Armed with seven squadrons, the Air Force’s only Deployment Transition Center and more than 3,500 members, the 86 MSG keeps the 86 AW functioning.
“The MSG is really an enabler to everything that happens in this wing,” said Lt. Col. Kyle Korver, 86 MSG deputy commander. “One of our key focus areas is to enable the mission of others. So we do that really by integrating all of our key functions which are all supporting of the mission.
“We also understand that every function is absolutely integral to how we function overall in the group, how we support the wing, and how we make sure that not only the 86 AW but also all our mission partners and the headquarters staff on this base are supported for full mission execution,” Korver added.
Just like a body has a wide variety of organs and appendages in different places, the 86 MSG’s squadrons differ in their mission and location, with units on Ramstein and Vogelweh and in Turkey and the U.K. These many different units work together to support the 86th Airlift Wing’s missions.
The 86 MSG’s units include the 86th Communications Squadron, 700th Contracting Squadron, 86th Security Forces Squadron, 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron, 86th Force Support Squadron, 786 FSS, Deployment Transition Center, 2nd Air Postal Squadron and Airman Leadership School.
“Each squadron has its own function, but each one is absolutely critical to the function of the others,” Korver said. “It could be just through supporting their personnel, or in a lot of cases, they actually have different functions that work very closely together to make sure that a combined effect happens to support the overall mission.”
Although these squadrons have operations which appear unrelated to each other, they do have one thing in common: taking care of the Airmen is a major focal point of their mission.
Security forces is responsible for protecting Airmen and keeping them safe, the force support squadrons make sure Airmen’s physical and mental needs are taken care of and the DTC helps redeploying Airmen transition back into society while Airman Leadership School develops and prepares them to be future leaders.
“World-class mission support and care for one another is what enables Airmen to get better every day and succeed,” said Jamie Newman, 569th USFPS security forces manager. “Whether it be food service, at a communications terminal or out at the gate, world-class mission support gets the air-minded warrior what they need.
“The Airmen are the mission; the mission is the Airmen,” Newman continued. “Taking care of them means taking care of the mission. Without our innovative Airmen, the mission would not get done. I would encourage everyone to get out and visit the 86 AW Airmen where they work: tremendous Airmen doing the mission extremely well and proud of it … airpower!”
Just as cells are the basic building blocks of body parts, Airmen are the foundation of the Air Force and its operations.
“The Airmen enable everything that happens,” Korver said. “The entire mission of our group is to ensure we have trained and qualified Airmen supporting other mission sets. … Without the MSG, this base would grind to a halt.
“(Brig. Gen. Richard G. Moore Jr., 86th Airlift Wing commander) pointed out just how critical every single function is to the Air Force, and if you take one of those away, something key is going to fail,” Korver continued. “They all absolutely work in concert as a very good system.”
Whether it’s flying jets to faraway lands, destroying the enemy or guarding bases on the home front, none of these missions would be possible without Airmen. That is why the people of the 86 MSG are dedicated to their mission: taking care of their own.