Every Airman Matters
By Col. Larry Nance, 436th Operations Group commander
/ Published January 15, 2019
Have you ever paused your busy day to watch a C-17 Globemaster III or C-5M Super Galaxy loudly roll down the runway and safely takeoff into the blue skies of Dover? Every time I watch an 840,000 pound C-5 lift off the ground, I consider it a small miracle. While it is impressive that aerospace engineers designed this huge aircraft back in the 1950s to carry tons of cargo thousands of miles, that’s not quite the miracle I’m talking about. Rather, I like to ponder the Team Dover professionals who worked tirelessly to enable that single takeoff.
First, the medical group and chaplains tirelessly ensure we are fit to fight…medically, mentally and spiritually. The comptroller squadron ensures we have the funds required to pay for all the parts, fuel, temporary duty assignments and personnel costs. Civilians and Airmen in the contracting and civil engineer squadrons ensure our facilities provide fantastic working conditions and our airfield supports safe mission execution. The logistics readiness squadron fills each jet with the required amount of fuel and transports our aircrew and all their equipment to the aircraft. Port Dawgs skillfully handle all the cargo and passengers to ensure whatever and whomever we carry is safe for flight, and maintainers work tirelessly, in all weather conditions, to repair and launch our aging aircraft.
But wait, there’s more! The force support squadron takes care of all Airmen. They provide everything from off-duty entertainment to permanent change of station orders and new ID cards. Like the FSS, the operations support squadron also has an incredible breadth of responsibilities. They schedule all our flights, provide air traffic control services, brief the aircrew on forecasted weather conditions as well as current intelligence, maintain life support equipment to ensure aircrew and passenger safety, repair airfield navigation and radio systems and ensure the airfield is in top-notch condition through various daily inspections. Furthermore, command post Airmen expertly provide around-the-clock coordination of mission execution. Underlying all these great Airmen is a communications squadron whose Airmen ensure timely mission information is communicated to those who need it through our various computer systems. Finally, our security forces civilians and Airmen provide a multi-layered defense to ensure all the infrastructure, personnel and equipment on base is secure and safe.
I bet there are well over 1,000 Airmen who supported that single takeoff, and Team Dover professionals flawlessly and safely launch multiple complex missions every single day! United under the simple vision of being the “World’s Premiere Airlift Wing”, every squadron and flight expertly executes their part of the mission. Teamwork and trust are the keys to success! Once all that work is complete, our aircrew, flying crew chiefs, security forces’ Ravens and the passengers we move put their lives on the line trusting everyone did their jobs correctly.
So, next time you look up and see one of our huge airlift aircraft leave Dover to deliver supplies across the globe, remember YOU made a difference to that mission. The operations group relies on your knowledge, expertise and judgement to make the small miracle of Global Air Mobility a daily reality.
For that, I humbly thank you for your exceptional service in the world’s most powerful Air Force.