News: 6th AS puts ‘global’ in global reach
Story by Airman 1st Class Ryan Throneberry
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - The current mission for the men and women of the 6th Airlift Squadron is to train and equip C-17 Globemaster III aircrews for global air and land operations for some of the most-demanding missions in Air Mobility Command.
People like Capt. Andrew Black, Staff Sgt. Christopher Saydeh, Senior Airman Brandon Maurer and their fellow pilots, loadmasters, crew chiefs and Phoenix Ravens prove AMC’s reach is truly worldwide every day.
“A lot of hard work and long days go into planning missions,” said Black, 6th AS C-17 Globemaster III pilot. “The scheduling office and the Operations Flight build crews based on availability and mission requirements. It’s like a fine game of chess to ensure the right pieces are in place.”
An augmented crew is required for missions to locations without a secured airfield or available maintenance personnel. An augmented crew includes crew chiefs for on-site repairs or Phoenix Ravens to provide aircraft security in austere locations.
Saydeh, an 87th Security Forces Squadron Phoenix Raven, flies with the 6th when his expertise is required. The Phoenix Raven program ensures an acceptable level of close-in security for aircraft transiting airfields where security is unknown or additional security is needed to counter local threats.
“Ravens don’t fly the ordinary missions to just any location,” said Saydeh, a Staten Island, N.Y., native. “We are only called on when an aircraft is going somewhere ‘interesting.’ It’s always cool to look out from the aircraft and see wild hyenas roaming the plains of Africa.”
The crew members agree there are perks to flying transport missions to far off places.
“Seeing the world is one blessing of being a pilot,” said Black, a Brenham, Texas, native. “In three or four days, you can fly through Europe, head south of the equator and work in Africa for a few hours before returning home. It certainly makes the world a smaller place.”
Aircrews are often away from home and their loved ones while flying around the globe. Some Airmen are sure to pick up mementos on their travels to remember why and for whom they do what they do.
“I love the traveling aspect of my job, but missing my family is tough,” said Maurer, 6th AS loadmaster from Vandalia, Ohio.
6th AS leadership is aware of the constant hard work and sacrifice of their squadron members.
“The people make the 6th AS remarkable,” said Maj. Joe Vanoni, 6th AS operations officer. “It is their willingness to sacrifice their personal and family lives to move the mission anywhere in the world at a moment's notice. Additionally, it is their ability to adapt to different missions and environments, sometimes on the same sortie, to ensure they take care of the mission first and foremost.”
Lt. Col. Jason Ginn, 6th AS commander, echoed Vanoni’s words but also mentioned the success of the 6th doesn’t rest on those Airmen alone.
“The airmen of the 6th continue to inspire and amaze me with the remarkable things they do each and every day in the defense of this nation and its interests,” said Ginn. “Without the collaborative efforts with our Reserve counterpart in the 732nd AS or the no-fail support of the maintenance troops and port dawgs, we here in the 6th would not be able to complete our mission. The team effort of the members of the 6th along with our fellow Airmen here at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is what makes us remarkable.”
JB MDL is home to the 6th AS which has served with distinction since Oct. 14, 1933, making it the oldest airlift squadron in the Air Force.
The 6th AS is a historic unit, celebrating almost 80 years of service to the U.S. through transporting troops and supplies worldwide