AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar – Every aircraft flying into or out of Al Udeid Air Base on a mission with the U.S. Air Mobility Command, begins and ends their time on base with a call to someone at the Air Mobility Command Center operated by the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron. The call to the AMCC is picked up by someone from the command center who is situated in a single room with a team of up to six people. In that room, AMCC shares space with one or two individuals from the Air Transportation Operations Center and the Maintenance Operations Command Center.
“We are the first people to talk to the aircraft coming in for ground support, and we are the last people they talk to going out for ground support,” said Master Sgt. Sidney Frith, superintendent assigned to the 8th EAMS/AMCC.
The call by incoming aircraft to the AMCC initiates a chain reaction of information directed at multiple agencies starting with those associated with the ATOC and MOC.
“They call and tell us their maintenance status, what they have on the aircraft that needs to be downloaded, what they are expecting to have uploaded, any type of passengers, medivac, etc. and we relay that to the right agency to make sure that ground support is happening,” said Frith.
For transient air crew whose mission is only laying over at Al Udeid, the AMCC provides them with a cell phone, a base map, meal information, and transportation too and from the aircraft. They will organize lodging, and even set up a wake-up call and provide transportation for pilots and crew, in order to ensure the plane is manned and in the air as close to on time as possible. The AMCC is also equipped to store classified documents if necessary.
“We have ATOC and MOC centrally located with us, which makes for great synergy,” said Frith. Locating the AMCC, ATOC and MOC in a single room creates a great working relationship between the entities that translates to a smooth and efficient entry and departure for incoming and outgoing aircraft and their crew.
All this planning and coordinating is done multiple times every day, for all AMC flights, by a staff of five AMCC individuals. Just to get an idea of the numbers, a 220-day snapshot from 2017 reveals that nearly 52,000 people, approximately 240 people every day, moved through the passenger terminal here at Al Udeid. In that same time period, nearly 500 pieces of cargo a day, weighing a staggering amount, were ushered either in or out of the country through the PAX terminal. Each aircraft and its crew contributing to these movements are ushered into and out of Al Udeid by one of the five members of the AMCC.
“The grind doesn’t stop for the AMCC,” said Senior Airman Johan Pena, junior controller assigned to the 8th EAMS/AMCC. It turns out that that’s kind of the motto for the AMCC and its clear it’s because the mission here at Al Udeid continues 24 hours a day, every day. There really is no down time for the AMCC. They need to be always ready for anything.