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Patriot Express missions diverted to support redeployments

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFPN) -- Air Mobility Command officials have temporarily cancelled several Patriot Express missions between the United States and Europe to use those aircraft to fill requirements for the massive Southwest Asia rotation of forces. AMC is supporting the movement of 250,000 troops in 60 days, a feat military leaders have called "historic."

Patriot Express is the commercial charter air service for servicemembers and their families traveling on official orders to or from overseas locations. With the approval of the AMC commander, seven missions and return flights have been cancelled between Feb. 8 and 24 that were scheduled to depart Atlanta and Baltimore-Washington International Airports for Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany; Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England; and Aviano AB, Italy.

March will bring the cancellation of an additional five Patriot Express missions March 1 through March 14 from Atlanta and BWI to Rhein-Main, Mildenhall and Aviano, and return, said Col. Jeffrey Ackerson, AMC's deputy director of logistics. The new cancellations affect 642 passengers and 57 pets.

"We understand the impact of these cancellations on our Patriot Express customers, and AMC and the Tanker Airlift Control Center are doing everything possible to notify them of the changes," Colonel Ackerson said.

Passengers are being informed through their local transportation management offices, he said. TACC officials have asked the military services transportation representatives, commanders and transportation officers to contact passengers who may be on leave en route. In addition, TACC officials have followed up with each of the transportation offices with passengers booked on the affected flights to make sure they were aware of the cancellations and were rebooking the travelers.

AMC aerial port squadron commanders at the Atlanta and BWI gateways and at the passenger terminals at Rhein-Main, Mildenhall and Aviano are leaning forward and are prepared to help any passenger who needs assistance in booking flights.

"We're rebooking passengers on other military air service, if available, or on commercial air using the General Services Administration City Pair Program," Colonel Ackerson said.

Colonel Ackerson advises those who have tickets for Patriot Express flights to and from Europe to check with the transportation agency who originally booked the ticket to find out if the flight has been cancelled.

"We are moving America's warriors, and they deserve every consideration,” Colonel Ackerson said. “We will continue to press hard to do everything we can to catch passengers early and reduce some of the inconvenience these cancellations will cause." (Courtesy of AMC News Service)

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