721 MSS AMCC: The central nervous system

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The human body is a complex machine made up of interconnecting components which rely on the central nervous system to receive important messages, referred to as signals. The 721st Mobility Support Squadron’s Air Mobility Control Center acts as a critical specialized command and control element within the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing. Simply put, they are the Wing’s central nervous system.

As the focal point for Airmen on the ground, the Tanker Airlift Control Center (TACC) and everyone in between, the AMCC acts as the eyes and ears for projecting rapid global mobility. They provide pertinent information regarding incoming and outgoing aircrew, ground support for aircraft and more.

“We get the information, we disseminate the information, we receive that feedback and then we route it up to (leadership),” said Tech. Sgt. Zachary Martin, 721st MSS AMCC noncommissioned officer in charge of operations. “I think this would be one of the few jobs you get direct feedback from the agency above you. We are the heart of mission execution.”

When walking into the AMCC work center, one may feel as though they just stepped into Wall Street. The bustling tempo and constant controlled chaos of communication pays homage to the olden days of stock exchanges. Phones ringing off the hook and the loud echoes of affirmation between Airmen bounce off the walls of a relatively small office space which includes a panoramic view of the flightline. While the environment mirrors that of New York’s busiest street, Airmen aren’t dealing with share prices. Instead, they’re navigating the whirlwind of logistics behind air superiority.

“Chaos is definitely the right word for it,” said Tech. Sgt. Shauna McMahon, 721st MSS AMCC noncommissioned officer in charge of systems. “There’s no room for the mission to stop here, so our controllers are always working really hard. It takes a minute to get used to the shouting, but once you get that ear, you pick up on what you need to. The communication is always flowing.”

Whenever assets need to move in and out of Ramstein aboard a C-17 Globemaster, C-5 Galaxy or even a commercial airliner, AMCC has a hand in it. Missions involving multi-million dollar aircraft don’t just happen with a flick of a magic wand and the words “Wingardium Leviosa.” It takes real people -- real Airmen -- to ensure mission accomplishment.

“We are that central nervous system between all the other agencies,” Martin said. “That’s what allows the squadron to be successful. There’s conflict all around the world, and Ramstein is the gateway to that world.”

Along with ensuring important information gets channeled to the appropriate entities, the AMCC Airmen are responsible for setting up aircrew for success. They arrange lodging and provide the aircrew with cell phones to alert them of their upcoming missions.

“When aircrew come in and missions come in, they need to only focus on the mission,” Martin said. We alleviate those aircrew and personnel from thinking about all this other stuff. We allow them to just focus on the mission.”

Obstacles may arise in a complex array of ever-constant moving puzzle pieces, and the AMCC has experienced its fair share.

“It’s a lot of problem solving, critical thinking and being creative,” Martin said. “You’ll have an Airman, a one-striper, solve a big issue just because he throws an idea into the mix. That’s what I like about this.”

Between presidential support and moving COVID-19 patients, AMCC is in the middle of it all. Quite literally, they are set up in the middle of the Maintenance Operation Center (MOC) from the 721st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the Air Terminal Operations Center (ATOC) from the 721st Aerial Port Squadron. With their powers combined, a fast and efficient lane of communication keeps the mission propelling forward.

“We coordinate any type of fleet request (aircrews) may have,” McMahon said. “The lavatory, trash -- we coordinate that with ATOC, and then we also coordinate maintenance with MOC, so it’s really helpful that we’re all here in the same facility. When all the COVID-19 stuff kicked off, at first, MOC and ATOC went to separate locations, so we had to make all these extra phone calls. We really felt the difference of not having them here.”

With their hands full, McMahon and Martin both agreed there’s never a dull moment at AMCC.

“I did not anticipate it to be this crazy coming here,” McMahon said. “We’ve been able to do so many great things, being involved with all the COVID-19 missions … it’s definitely a unique experience here.”

“It’s fun, it’s lively, and it’s like nothing else that I’ve ever experienced,” Martin added.