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News > AMC's execution hub serves as 'virtual crewmember' worldwide
AMC's execution hub serves as 'virtual crewmember' worldwide

Posted 1/27/2009   Updated 1/27/2009 Email story   Print story


by 1st Lt. Justin Brockhoff
618th Tanker Airlift Control Center Public Affairs

1/27/2009 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of the 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center conducted a series of town hall briefings at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and McChord Air Force Base, Wash., in mid-January to foster the concept of the 618th TACC as a 'virtual crewmember' for Air Mobility Command crews operating worldwide. 

The 618th TACC, located at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is AMC's execution arm for global air mobility. The center is responsible for planning airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation missions, allocating aircraft and aircrews to fly the missions, and exercising command and control over the missions once they launch. 

In order to optimize mobility partnerships, a priority for Gen. Arthur J. Lichte, AMC's commander, the 618th TACC wants aircrew members, maintainers and aerial porters to communicate with the center early, and often and to think of the center as a 'virtual crewmember' taking care of their needs 24 hours a day. 

"We're your advocate on the ground to guarantee success of the mission," said Col. Quintin Hartt, Director of the 618th TACC's Command and Control Directorate. "We're ready to assist anytime you need us, no matter what the issue. The key to timely support is early communication." 

The 618th TACC presenters discussed numerous communication options for aircrew members to get the help they need, which includes avenues such as calling 1-800-AIR-MOBL for immediate issue resolution, to using web based solutions such as the 'planning tool kit' and 'ask TACC' on the center's secure website for after-the-fact discussion. 

In fact, 618th TACC command and control specialists already engage in 37,000 phone calls each month to support mobility personnel, according to Lt. Col. Chris Rosenthal, a division chief in the 618th TACC's Command and Control Directorate. 

"The key to receiving support is having a plan when you call our controllers with an issue," he added. "If you call us with a planned course of action it makes our coordination easier, which gets you the help you need faster." 

Colonel Rosenthal also advises aircrews that once that phone call is received, the 618th TACC's command and control specialists engage face-to-face with someone else on the operations floor to answer a question or coordinate a request. Callers should to be aware that some requests may take up to 15 minutes to coordinate, he added. 

The importance of early communication is echoed by the 618th TACC's integrated flight management specialists, who are charged with planning and 'flight-following' every mission the 618th TACC touches. 

"We want to be your representation to communicate issues and find solutions," said Mr. Joe Jackson, 618th TACC flight manager and retired Air Force KC-135 pilot. "We are your extended crew member on the floor and rely on your communication and feedback to improve our processes and provide the best support possible." 

The traveling team of briefers also included representatives from the 618th TACC's Weather, Director of Operations, Global Channel Operations and Mobility Management directorates. 

"Communication is the main point of this whole visit," said Lt. Col. Bill Pryor, 618th TACC Global Weather Directorate, director. "Weather forecasts can't always be 100 percent accurate, but if you experience a difference between your forecasted and actual weather conditions, providing us that feedback is extremely helpful, because we can adjust the forecast for aircrews flying behind you." 

Another circumstance the 618th TACC is poised to support is when an aircraft performing a mobility mission requires maintenance. 

"Good, timely information is vital when you're out in the system and your aircraft is facing a maintenance issue," said Senior Master Sgt. Bill Givens, Superintendent of the Command and Control Directorate's Logistics Readiness Division. "The earlier we know about an issue, the more options we have to deliver the people, parts and equipment required in a timely manner." 

A final suggestion the briefing team gave to aircrew members is not to hesitate in contacting the 618th TACC and their squadron leadership for advice should the need arise. By including squadron leaders and the 618th TACC early in the decision making process, crews performing global mobility missions have access to the authority needed to help resolve an issue, and the experience of veterans who have been in their position before. 

618th TACC personnel are available 24-hours-a-day as a point of contact for aircrews, maintainers and aerial porters operating in support of AMC missions worldwide. For more information or to provide feedback to the 618th TACC, contact a command and control specialist at 1-800-AIR-MOBL or send a request from your government email account to

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