CHIÈVRES AIR BASE, Belgium --
Airmen from the 424th Air Base Squadron, a geographically separated unit of Ramstein’s 86th Airlift Wing, supported a rotation of the 1st Air Calvary Brigade on Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, Oct. 20, 2017, and supported throughout the duration of Operation Atlantic Resolve at Powidz Air Base, Poland.
The team at Chièvres normally supports a very different mission, but more than 70 424th ABS Airmen from 18 career fields demonstrated how forces are able to realign resources as they supported 77 helicopters and hosted more than 280 U.S. Army Soldiers on base.
These aviation rotations enhance deterrence capabilities, increase response ability, and ensure the capability and readiness of U.S. forces in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, allowing for a faster response in the event of aggression by a regional adversary against NATO sovereign territory.
“The 1st Air Calvary Brigade is here as part of a movement into theater,” said Lt. Col Craig Lindstrom, 424th ABS commander. “They came into a port at Zeebrugge Port in Belgium, and Chièvres’ airfield was used as an intermediate staging field in order to bring their aircraft and their aircrews into one location for forward movement to the East.”
The 21st Theater Sustainment Command typically has a 96-hour goal for clearing a port in order to move helicopters off the port and into the intermediate staging base. During this particular rotation, the 1st ACB broke records as their efforts pulled the operation together in just 58 hours.
The 424th ABS was a key piece of that puzzle, Lindstrom said.
“It couldn’t have happened without the 424th being here,” said Master Sgt. Sherresa Lasseter, 424th ABS airfield manager. “Everybody worked as one cohesive unit to get everyone down on the ground where they are supposed to, and safely. Watching people come together for this mission, for Atlantic Resolve, it’s just been incredible and an amazing experience. Teamwork at its finest.”
Providing airfield operations support for the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), NATO transient aircraft, and distinguished visitors during standard operations, the 424th ABS is used to supporting three to five aircraft per week.
“This is a significant increase in operations for us,” Lindstrom said. “But it also shows that we have the capacity to surge and operate at a much higher level. From our transient alert folks making sure that we were able to handle and park multiple rows of helicopters, to our airfield management devising a parking plan for them, it was a total team effort across the squadron.”
Hosting U.S. Army soldiers demonstrated how Chièvres Airmen play a role in strengthening capabilities and sustaining readiness through multinational operations, training, and exercises.
“The interoperability that we had with the garrison was seamless,” Lindstrom said.
No one can confront today’s challenges alone. As the U.S. Air Force works side-by-side with our European allies and partners every day, they train to meet future security challenges to ensure the independence, sovereignty, and security of NATO members.