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8th EAMS celebrates Ochoversary

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Nicholas Lee
  • 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron commander

On this day in 1944, the 8th Air Cargo Resupply Squadron activated in preparation for service in World War II. Today, the now designated 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron, affectionately known as “The Mighty Ocho,” celebrates our “Ochoversary” while we reflect on our heraldry, our modern history, and look to the horizon for what lies ahead.

 

We tip our patrol cap to a proud heraldry that started in another theater 76 years ago. The Pacific theater of 1944 saw Allied Nations in the throes of the island hopping campaign designed to defeat the Empire of Japan and help end World War II. The 8th ACRS, organized under the 403rd Troop Carrier Group, found itself in the South Pacific supporting resupply efforts on multiple fronts. Their faithful service in the New Guinea and Philippine campaigns earned the Distinguished Unit Citation and campaign streamers for Leyte, Luzon, and the Southern Philippines, all present on the 8th EAMS guidon today. With victory declared and the unconditional surrender of Japan received, the squadron stood down in 1946 and spent the 1960s and 70s in the Reserves, inactivating in 1973. Upon re-activation in 1998 at Prince Sultan Air Base (Al Kharj) Saudi Arabia, the 8th ACRS was re-designated as the 8th EAMS, eventually moving to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar in 2003. In 2008, we organized under the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing to support operations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. We are proud of our linage, proud to call ourselves Ochos, and proud to be part of Air Mobility Command.

 

In terms of modern history, it is clear that no matter the station or the war, the insatiable appetite for mobility will endure. By the numbers since arriving at Al Udeid, 8th EAMS is heading towards moving our three millionth passenger, our two millionth piece of cargo, and generating our two hundred and fifty thousandth sortie. The requirements are many: generation, deployment, sustainment, recovery... and the list goes on. The things we do and the way we operate speak to the role of the Mobility Airman and the Global Air Mobility Support System of worldwide enroutes designed to project rapid global mobility. While 99% of America will never see our ramps, nor the majesty that is a well-generated and fully loaded aircraft seeing to the mobility mission at hand, we know they depend on each of us to do our job and do it well. We are here to execute the mobility mission, wearing the cloth of our service, seeing to the business of our nation. In that regard, we cannot fail.     

 

Looking to the future, we must openly acknowledge the challenges before us. With all of the various security considerations in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, the importance of our ability to move as needed and at a time of our choosing cannot be overstated. The dynamic nature of this region requires that we continue to push the mission and remain ready to adjust to changing conditions that require the capability we have been entrusted with. In that same light, we need to understand that we are at a turning point in our history. Our adversaries, watching from an elevating vantage point, will simply not allow us to prosecute matters of defense in the same manner we have since The Gulf War. As a nation, we are wielding a blade with an eroding edge. We need to think differently about today’s challenges and commit ourselves to different outcomes in order to re-establish our bevel. As the new chief of staff of the Air Force offers, we need to accelerate change, or lose.

 

To the Ochos of the past, we celebrate today with you and offer a heartfelt thanks to you for all that you have done to get us where we are today. Rest assured that whether it’s hot, or extra hot, 8th EAMS continues the mission.

 

To the current Ochos, the watch is ours. We will honor those that came before us and commit to thinking differently about the challenges we face.

 

To everyone at Al Udeid, especially our host wing in the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, we are honored to be here with you.  We thank you for all of the formal mission partnership and informal fellowship; it makes all the difference.

 

And to all, Happy Ochoversary!