721st Air Mobility Operations Group

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721st Air Mobility Operations Group
USAF - 721st Air Mobility Operations Group.png
Emblem of the 721st Air Mobility Operations Group
Active 1966-1972, 1977-present
Country United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Airlift Support
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Gallantry Cross (Vietnam)

The 721st Air Mobility Operations Group is a United States Air Force (USAF) unit assigned to the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing, stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

History[edit]

Viet Nam War[edit]

The group was initially activated as the 608th Military Airlift Support Squadron during the Vietnam War at Cam Ranh Bay AB, South Vietnam in 1966.[1] It replaced the 1512th Support Squadron (Transport) and assumed the 1512th's mission, personnel, and equipment.[2] The squadron managed the strategic aerial port facilities at Cam Ranh Bay[3] from 1966 until the closure and withdrawal of the USAF in 1972.[4]

Patch of the 608th Military Airlift Group

Air Mobility Support in Germany[edit]

The squadron was reactivated in 1977 to operate the Military Airlift Command (MAC) aerial port at Ramstein Air Base. It serviced transient C-5 Galaxy and C-141 Starlifter transports at Ramstein, loading and unloading cargo and also received airlifted equipment and personnel for United States Army Europe (USAREUR) forces units in Germany.

In August 1983, the squadron expanded to group size and was assigned separate aerial port and maintenance squadrons to carry out its mission. It was also assigned its first flying squadron, the 58th Military Airlift Squadron (MAS), which was assigned from the 322d Airlift Division.[5] The assumption of the airlift mission was reflected when the group was redesignated the 608th Military Airlift Group. The 10th MAS at Zweibrücken Air Base which operated C-23 Sherpa transports in support of USAFE's European Distribution System (EDS) was also reassigned from the 322d Airlift Division in 1984.[6] The EDS was organized to give units in Europe a quicker way to receive small equipment items or supplies on a round-the-clock basis, without the expense of the larger cargo aircraft. The group also supported Special Air Transportation of HQ USAFE executives with a fleet of light transport. The 10th MAS was inactivated in 1991.[6]

in 1992, USAF embarked on a major reorganization of its Major Commands. In this reorganization, theater airlift was reassigned from the inactivating MAC. The host 86th Fighter Wing at Ramstein became the 86th Wing and the 58th MAS was redesignated the 58th Airlift Squadron and assigned to the wing's 86th Operations Group. The 608th's mission became strategic airlift support once again as it was redesignated the 608th Airlift Support Group of Air Mobility Command (AMC). However, its mission expanded to include support for all of Europe and it was assigned squadrons at Torrejon AB, Spain, and RAF Mildenhall, England. In recognition of its responsibility to support not only airlift, but the air refueling mission of AMC, it became the 621st Air Mobility Support Group in 1994 and was renumbered the because USAF policy required subordinate support units numbers to reflect their parent organization's number and the group was assigned to Twenty-First Air Force. It became the 721st Air Mobility Operations Group in 2001.

The group's Detachment 5 was located at Balad Air Base with a mission to recover and launch AMC aircraft transiting Balad, minimizing ground time to reduce exposure to enemy attacks,[7] In 2008, AMC activated the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing at Ramstein. The 521st assumed the theater air mobility support mission and the squadrons of the 721st located away from Ramstein were reassigned to it,

Lineage[edit]

Activated on 8 January 1966
Inactivated on 30 April 1972.
  • Activated on 1 July 1977
Redesignated 608th Military Airlift Support Group on 1 August 1983
Redesignated 608th Military Airlift Group ca. 15 March 1984
Redesignated 608th Airlift Support Group on 1 June 1992
Redesignated 621st Air Mobility Support Group on 1 July 1994
Redesignated 721st Air Mobility Operations Group on 15 March 2001

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

  • Cam Ranh Bay AB, South Vietnam, 15 October 1966 – 31 May 1972
  • Ramstein AB, West Germany (later Germany), 1 July 1977 – present

Subordinate Units[edit]

  • 10th Military Airlift Squadron, 15 March 1984 - 31 March 1991[6]
  • 58th Military Airlift Squadron, 1 August 1983 - 1 June 1992[5]
  • 608th Aerial Port Squadron, 1 August 1983 - 1 July 1992
  • 608th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (later 608th Maintenance Squadron), 1 August 1983 - 1 July 1994
  • 623d Air Mobility Support Squadron (later 623d Air Mobility Operations Squadron, 723d Air Mobility Squadron), 1 July 1994 – present
  • 625th Airlift Support Squadron (later 625th Air Mobility Support Squadron, 725th Air Mobility Squadron), 1 June 1992 - 1 September 2008
Located at Torrejon AB, Spain. Moved to Naval Station Rota Spain
  • 627th Airlift Support Squadron (later 627th Air Mobility Support Squadron, 627th Air Mobility Operations Squadron, 727th Air Mobility Squadron), ca. 16 January 1993 - 1 September 2008
Located at RAF Mildenhall, England

Aircraft[edit]

  • C-12F, 1977–1992
  • C-21, 1977–1992
  • C-20, 1977–1992
  • C-23A, 1977–1992

Awards and Campaigns[edit]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 8 January 1966 - 23 January 1966 [8]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 8 January 1966 - 30 June 1966 [8]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1966 - 30 June 1967 [8]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1967 - 30 June 1968 [8]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1968 - 30 June 1970 [9]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1970 - 29 Apr 1972 [9]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 April 1978 - 31 March 1980 [10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 August 1983 - 31 July 1985 [10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 April 1992 - 31 March 1994 [10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 2003 - 30 September 2004 [10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2005 - 30 September 2006 [10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2006 - 30 September 2007 [10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2007 - 30 September 2008 [10]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 October 2008 - 30 September 2009 [10]
VGCP Streamer.jpg Gallantry Cross (Vietnam) 1 April 1966 - 30 April 1972 [9]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Defense [8]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Air Offensive, Phase IV [8]
Streamer VS.PNG Tet 69/Counteroffensive [8]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969 [8]
Streamer VS.PNG Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970 [8]
Streamer VS.PNG Sanctuary Counteroffensive [9]
Streamer VS.PNG Southwest Monsoon [9]
Streamer VS.PNG Commando Hunt V [9]
Streamer VS.PNG Commando Hunt VI [9]
Streamer VS.PNG Commando Hunt VII [9]

Notes and References[edit]

  1. ^ Abstract, Program Action Directive: Activation of 608th MASS (accessed 24 Oct 2012)
  2. ^ Although the 1512th is a separate unit, the orders activating the 608th stated it was entitled to continue the 1512th's history because the change in unit was merely intended to replace a unit controlled by Military Air Transport Service with one controlled by Hq, USAF. However, the 1512th was only active for eighteen days.
  3. ^ The tactical (or in-country) aerial port facilities were managed by the 14th Aerial Port Squadron
  4. ^ Abstract, History of 61st Mil Alft Spt Wg, Apr-Jun 1972 (accessed 24 Oct 2012)
  5. ^ a b AFHRA Factsheet, 58th Airlift Squadron (accessed 24 Oct 2012)
  6. ^ a b c AFHRA Factsheet, 10th Airlift Squadron (accessed 24 Oct 2012)
  7. ^ SRA Croxon, James, Aviation Pros: Balad's Mission Begins with Strategic Airlift, Jan 8, 2007 (accessed 24 Oct 2012)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i AF Pamphlet 900-2, Unit Decorations, Awards and Campaign Participation Credits Department of the Air Force, Washington, DC, 15 Jun 71, p. 436. In addition, the 1512th Support Squadron earned two AFOUAs, p. 498
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h AF Pamphlet 900-2, Unit Decorations, Awards and Campaign Participation Credits, Vol II Department of the Air Force, Washington, DC, 30 Sep 76 , p. 83
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Air Force Personnel Services Unit Awards (accessed 24 Oct 2012)

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]