Demand for Air Mobility “Insatiable”

A busy 2010 that featured redeployment of thousands of forces from Iraq to Afghanistan, the Haiti relief operation, and more morphed into an equally busy 2011 as new contingencies created an “insatiable” demand for air mobility, said Air Mobility Command’s Gen. Raymond Johns Monday afternoon at AFA’s Air & Space Conference. The command was already planning on three major exercises in the Pacific—in Korea, Singapore, and Thailand—moving more forces out of Iraq, and providing support to a Presidential visit to South America. Then, came the so-called “Arab Spring” and the massive 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan. AMC aided US Pacific Command as it led relief efforts and managed evacuation of US service member families. Commercial lift was surged to Japan, for what Johns had anticipated would be an evacuation of tens of thousands of family members from the affected area. It turned out to be 7,800 evacuees, noted Johns. AMC moved many of them through Travis AFB, Calif., where the surrounding community turned the base into a family support center to aid the transition, in a huge volunteer effort. “It was a great case of how we take care of our own,” Johns said.