496th Air Base Squadron: Projecting Airpower

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Robert L. McIlrath
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

MORÓN AIR BASE, Spain – With about 500 personnel, the 496th Air Base Squadron at Morón Air Base, Spain, plays a major part in the United States’ ability to project airpower.

Located approximately 40 miles southeast of the city of Sevilla, Spain, Morón AB possesses an aircraft ramp that can fit up to 23 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and has 5 million gallons of fuel on site.

“This is a Spanish installation with a large U.S. presence,” said Lt. Col. Mark D. Nexon, 496th ABS commander. “We have the space for aircraft and the infrastructure to support significant fueling operations.”

As a power projection platform for the United States European Command, Morón AB can also act as a relief valve for other missions flowing through Europe, generally into U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility.

“Morón is a hotbed of activity, pairing the U.S. with our Spanish host partners,” said Col. William Wallis, 65th Air Base Group commander.
“When you see the ramp go from just a few aircraft to almost no available parking at all, then have all those aircraft pushed out a day or two later – that’s when you know our team rocks at power projection.”

The 496th ABS is specifically structured to handle a mass increase of personnel if mission requirements deem necessary.

“We have a relatively senior crew and very few first assignment Airmen,” Nexon said. “With the intent being that if this location needs to scale up, we have all the leadership teams here and we’re able to project power whichever direction is required by the EUCOM commander.”

Airmen from the 496th ABS are regularly tasked with exercises, military operations, and Coronet missions, which involve moving and refueling aircraft as they cross the Atlantic Air Bridge.

Morón AB is an easy choice for Coronet missions because of its proximity to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

This important work could not be done without the partnership with the host nation and Spanish Air Force, said Nexon.

“We are a very committed partner to the Spanish,” Nexon said. “I’m really impressed by the professionalism of every functional area on this base. Everyone exceeds expectations and performs at a high level.”