Ramstein 2022: A year in review

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Oiler
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Each year, Team Ramstein Airmen make a global impact, and 2022 held no exception. The year showcased dedication, innovation, and sacrifice to the mission.

Those qualities led the Department of Defense to name Ramstein Air Base the best installation in the Air Force as the winner of the 2022 Commander in Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence.

The award, which has been earned by the base three times since 2006, highlighted the herculean efforts by Ramstein Airmen in the support of critical missions and Operation Allies Refuge in 2021.

“I am proud of what our team members do here each and every day, and I want them to continue to understand how valuable they are to this team,” said Brig. Gen. Otis C. Jones, 86th Airlift Wing commander. “The Global Gateway mission is only successful thanks to the dedicated efforts of our entire team of Airmen, civilians and host nation partners and their families who meet every challenge head on.”

Ramstein Airmen continued to deliver innovative ways to support the mission throughout 2022 with new programs such as the 86th Maintenance Group’s enhanced their virtual reality training, which enables the Multi-Capable Airman concept for Agile Combat Employment.

The base also opened a new Airframe and Powerplant Training Facility. The facility is the first of its kind outside of the U.S. and allows eligible service members an opportunity to train and test for Airframe and Powerplant certifications from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Upholding the critical Global Gateway mission, Team Ramstein continued to sustain vital aid to Allied and partner nations throughout 2022.

• Russia began their attack on Ukraine early in the year, and Ramstein Airmen provided support to NATO’s Eastern flank. C-130J Super Hercules aircraft assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron reinforced our NATO allies and partners for movement of cargo and personnel. The 86th Logistics Readiness Group continues to contribute to the ongoing support of Ukraine.

• Ramstein Air Base was selected by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, to host the first Ukraine Defense Consultative Group as the challenges in Ukraine mounted. Austin was joined by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley and Ministers of defense and senior military officials from nearly 44 nations who met in April to discuss current and future efforts to provide support for Ukraine.

“We’re all coming away with a transparent and shared understanding of the challenge that the Ukrainians face,” said Austin during a press briefing that followed the conference. “I know that we’re all determined to help Ukraine win today and build strength for tomorrow. The work that we’ve done together in record time has made a huge difference on the battlefield.”

The world watched as nations came together again at Ramstein as Austin hosted a fifth meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group in September. Austin and Milley met to maintain close coordination between Allies and partners furthering the discussion on Ukraine’s security cooperation.

Supporting NATO Allies and partners is second nature to Ramstein Airmen, but this year Ramstein also provided aid closer to home.

• Infant formula supplies were critically low in the U.S. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were authorized to request Department of Defense support to pick up overseas infant formula that met U.S. health and safety standards during Operation Fly Formula.

Both military and civilian aircraft transited through Ramstein Air Base, and with the support of Ramstein Airmen and mission partners, delivered safe overseas infant formula to address critical shortages of formula in the U.S.

There is always something on the horizon at Ramstein that provides an opportunity to add to the base’s reputation, legacy, and heritage. This year was a year of milestones and celebrations.

• Both U.S. Air Forces in Europe and the 37th Airlift Squadron, located on Ramstein, celebrated 80th anniversaries, while Ramstein Air Base rang in 70 years.

Throughout the past 70 years, Ramstein has played a central role in airlift operations within Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Ramstein has hosted more than 120 mission partners and supports the integration and caring for the greater Kaiserslautern Military Community and its 56,000 U.S. service members and their families.

“The mission of Team Ramstein is no-fail and our country, Allies, and partners trust us to preserve the Global Gateway every single day,” said Jones. “Together, we will continue to answer our nations call, prepare for the future fight, and ensure the well-being of our greatest assets, our Airmen and their families.”

Moving into 2023, Team Ramstein will continue to meet the challenges of the Global Gateway mission and fortify Allied and partner nation relationships. Whatever the new year brings, Team Ramstein is ready.