Partnerships propel CRW's Airmen, mission

Colonel Charles R. Henderson bio photo.

Colonel Charles R. Henderson bio photo.

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- It’s been nearly two months since I took command of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, headquartered at both Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey and here at Travis Air Force Base.  I’m no stranger to disparate, geographically separated operations, starting right here back in 2006 in the 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force, in my squadron command of the Air Mobility Command Test and Evaluation Squadron also at JB MDL, and most recently, in the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.  The difference from all of those experiences is the bicoastal nature of the 621st CRW.  While it offers many challenges associated with part of the wing staff being 3,000 miles away at any given time, there are also many opportunities to be had. 

First and foremost are the relationships that are critical to the success of our units at both primary locations.  Whereas my previous organizations similarly benefited from the relationships formed at the squadron and group levels at our many locations, they didn’t benefit from the same caliber and frequency of wing-level advocacy.  Col. Klein and I at Travis—and Col. Thaden, Col. Cole, and I at JB MDL—engage regularly with respect to our interdependence on each other’s organizations and extend the praises due our Airmen and their selfless efforts. 

Most recently, when tasked by U.S. Africa Command via U.S. Transportation Command and 18th Air Force to launch a large Contingency Response Team to the continent on short notice, the amazing Airmen of the 60th Air Mobility Wing pulled together on equally short notice to enable the deployment.  Medical personnel, Cargo and Personnel Deployment Functions, Finance, Legal and all of the many supporting agencies that keep our operations and our families’ affairs in order every time we head to uncertain or hostile environments were there through the night alongside our Devil Raider warriors.  

And these Devil Raiders are awe inspiring!  Just this past weekend I witnessed members of the 821st Contingency Response Group first hand during Exercise CERBERUS STRIKE in Colorado.  These Airmen are versatile, agile, and extremely capable at what they do—in this instance, working with multiple Army and Air Force units to open airbases, command and control air mobility missions, maintain aircraft, and process cargo for the exercise’s Joint fight.  Additionally, Air Mobility Liaison Officers of the 621st Air Mobility Advisory Group that are embedded with these Army units were with them in the field facilitating and synergizing Joint mobility operations.  Again, engagements of this magnitude are not possible without our partner Airmen’s shoulders upon which we stand at Travis and JB MDL.

I am extremely honored to have this opportunity to lead the 621st CRW and I am motivated by the possibilities that lie ahead for this one-of-a-kind wing.  Our Command Chief, Chief Hudson, and I look forward to interacting with all of the great Airmen, supervisors, and leaders of our host and partner wings, and certainly those of the 621st Devil Raiders.  Just like our wing, you’re one-of-a-kind—Devil Raider Airmen.  Airpower!