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Ramstein mobility wing credited for smooth departure from Turkey

Families previously stationed in Turkey arrive at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 30, 2016, after the State Department and secretary of defense approved the ordered departure of service members’ dependents and Defense Department civilian personnel from the area. Ramstein AB was designated as a “transition location” for families to await travel to their subsequent duty locations. However, a number of families will relocate to Ramstein AB for an extended period of time. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Families previously stationed in Turkey arrive at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 30, 2016, after the State Department and secretary of defense approved the ordered departure of service members’ dependents and Defense Department civilian personnel from the area. Ramstein AB was designated as a “transition location” for families to await travel to their subsequent duty locations. However, a number of families will relocate to Ramstein AB for an extended period of time. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko)

Families affected by the ordered departure of dependents of service members and Defense Department civilian personnel currently stationed in Turkey arrive at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 30, 2016. As dependents departed Turkey, Ramstein AB has been designated as a “transition location” for families to await travel to their subsequent duty locations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sara Keller)

Families affected by the ordered departure of dependents of service members and Defense Department civilian personnel currently stationed in Turkey arrive at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 30, 2016. As dependents departed Turkey, Ramstein AB has been designated as a “transition location” for families to await travel to their subsequent duty locations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sara Keller)

Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing process families into Ramstein Air Base, Germany, after their departure from Turkey on March 30, 2016. Because of the ongoing threat in the region, dependents of service members were ordered to leave Turkey and Ramstein AB was designated as a “transition location” for families to await travel to their subsequent duty locations. However, a number of families will relocate to Ramstein AB for an extended period of time. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sara Keller)

Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing process families into Ramstein Air Base, Germany, after their departure from Turkey on March 30, 2016. Because of the ongoing threat in the region, dependents of service members were ordered to leave Turkey and Ramstein AB was designated as a “transition location” for families to await travel to their subsequent duty locations. However, a number of families will relocate to Ramstein AB for an extended period of time. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sara Keller)

A C-17 Globemaster III carrying families, who were part of the initial departures from Turkey, taxies across the flightline at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 30, 2016. The decision for dependents to depart Turkey allows for the deliberate, safe return of family members from these areas due to continued security concerns in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sara Keller)

A C-17 Globemaster III carrying families, who were part of the initial departures from Turkey, taxies across the flightline at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 30, 2016. The decision for dependents to depart Turkey allows for the deliberate, safe return of family members from these areas due to continued security concerns in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sara Keller)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- Even before the flow of families arrived at Ramstein Air Base after they were ordered to depart from Turkey on March 29, Airmen from the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing were getting ready to make their transition as fluid as possible.

The 521st Aerial Port Squadron at Ramstein AB and the 728th Air Mobility Squadron at Incirlik AB, Turkey, both part of the 521st AMOW, kept in constant contact to help the departing passengers.

The 721st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance and support Airmen diagnosed and repaired two C-17 Globemaster IIIs continually making flights between Ramstein AB and Incirlik AB. The 721st APS logistics crews kept the bags and cargo moving and Airmen of the 313th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron Air Mobility Control Center provided updated timing, coordination and notifications.

"I am proud of the flexibility and tenacity demonstrated by the Airmen of the 521st AMOW," said Col. Charles Henderson, the 521st AMOW vice commander. "Their dedication to customer service and team spirit made the ordered departure go as smoothly as possible and contributed greatly to its success. This event only proves that America, our Airmen and their families can depend on us."

The 521st AMOW had their Airmen at the right time and place that allowed them to react quickly and prevent many dependents from being stranded on Ramstein AB.

Air Mobility Command's premier mobility wing in Europe worked long hours shifting pets, luggage and coordinating with base agencies to ensure the dependents had a one-stop shop to transition to and from Ramstein AB.

"It has been impressive to watch so many of our base organizations come together and be prepared to help our Air Force family members as soon as they get here," said Master Sgt. Chad Oswald, the 721st APS passenger operations NCO in charge. "I think we are really ready for anything. Some of the agencies that are set up to help the incoming travelers include pre-coordinated hotel reservations and customs procedures, American Red Cross services, travel specialist to assist with onward travel reservations and many others."

Airmen from Ramstein AB gathered to support and one of them was a first sergeant from the 435th Construction and Training Squadron who gave his time to answer questions, escort, offer advice and support the families in any way possible. According to Master Sgt. Steven Williams, the 435th CTS first sergeant, the effort the 521st AMOW provided was appreciated.

"As their first sergeant I am constantly in contact with the families," Williams said. "I have received great reviews from the families on the support they have received. I want to thank Ramstein Airmen, key spouses and all the agencies for their outpouring support."

The State Department and secretary of defense approved the ordered departure of dependents from bases across Turkey to allow their safe return due to ongoing security concerns in the region. U.S. European Command officials announced March 29 that the move does not signify a permanent decision to end accompanied tours in Turkey.

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