Passenger terminal connects Airmen around globe

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Stuart
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs?
Transportation to a service member's next duty location is an important part of one's career. Without aerial port squadrons throughout the world, Airmen would have a harder time getting to their bases, especially if it is overseas.

The 721st Aerial Port Squadron, operating out of Ramstein Air Base, is a hub for air travel throughout Europe and is one of the largest aerial ports in the military.

"The 721st APS provides freight, passenger and fleet services to all aircraft transiting in and out of Ramstein," said Master Sgt. Darlene Clement, 721st APS Passenger Services Operations NCO in charge. "We get around 13,000 passengers that fly through this terminal during the slower months and just above 20,000 during the busier months."

Flights to and from Ramstein not only include service members who are permanently changing duty stations, but they also offer space available flights for Department of Defense ID card holders who travel for leisure. The Space-A flights are a service the terminal offers, but there are requirements that must be met in order to use this service.

"If you have a DOD ID card, it's in your best interest to come to the terminal to see if you're eligible to fly Space-A," said Clement. "We get a lot of passengers that get their information from third parties and it's inaccurate when they get here. If you come in and ask us 100 questions, we will give you 100 answers."

Many of the passengers who fly Space-A are command-sponsored dependents or active-duty service members on leave; however, there are other people who can fly under different circumstances, such as non-appropriated fund employees under emergency conditions.

"I've had a lot of customer service-oriented jobs in my life and working here has made me realize that I love working with people," said Airman 1st Class Judge Wright, 721st APS Passenger Services agent. "It's easy to think you're just putting people on vacation, but if you really take a second to think about it, the people you're getting home might have been deployed and just want to see their families. Being able to be a part of that makes my job rewarding."

In addition to transporting service members and their families, the terminal personnel have their hands on other important missions.

"We have missions ranging from presidential to special operations," said Wright. "We pretty much have our hands in everything; that's the cool part of our job."

Whether it's sending people off to complete the mission, getting troops home, or having the president pass through, the job of the 721st APS is to take care of customers.