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8th EAMS maintainers keep strategic airlift mission flying

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford
  • 455th AEW/PA

The 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron, has the responsibility of getting cargo and personnel moved in and out of Afghanistan using C-5 and C-17 aircraft.

The 8th EAMS is part of the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing and falls under Air Mobility Command. In order to accomplish their mission, Airmen assigned to detachments in Bagram and Kandahar Airfields provide the critical maintenance these aircraft need to keep the strategic airlift mission going.

“They provide the C-5 and C-17 maintenance to keep our strategic airlift platforms moving to and from Afghanistan,” said Lt. Col. Jesse Baker, 8th EAMS commander.  “This enables the resupply of U.S. and coalition partners working in Afghanistan, and is a vital component to ensuring expeditious aeromedical evacuation capability is available when required.”


“The detachment’s mission is to provide maintenance to all in route and transient C-17 aircraft that land at Bagram,” said Master Sgt. Doug Fielding, C-17 maintenance mitigation team production superintendent. “The aircraft bring much needed cargo, personnel and supplies to aid the mission here at Bagram.”

Having AMC Airmen stationed at detachments in Afghanistan allows for maintenance issues to be quickly resolved so AMC’s world-wide air mobility mission can continue.

“Over the last 12 months, the detachments in Kandahar and Bagram have supported over 4,000 C-5 and C-17 missions,” said Baker.  “In addition to providing general maintenance assistance to ensure maximum velocity of transit, they performed 172 unscheduled maintenance actions to fix aircraft that broke for a variety of reasons.

“It’s impossible to quantify in dollars the service they provide to the overall mobility mission, but had they not been here we would have had C-5 and C-17 aircraft sitting broken on the ground for days waiting for qualified maintenance personnel to arrive from Europe or the U.S,” said Baker. “This would invariably drive increased TDY rates for maintenance personnel, degrade overall mobility system efficiency and create additional risk of damage from repeated airfield attacks.”

The maintenance they provide keeps the airlift mission flying, which is critical to the success of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing’s mission in Afghanistan.

“Without strategic airlift, the Coalition would be solely reliant on commercial air cargo carriers or be forced to move all cargo via ground,” said Baker. “In some cases, the commercial carriers are unable to operate due to the threat environment or airfield limitations. “Moving all cargo by ground would significantly increase the risk to mission by exposing more personnel to the dangers of ground convoys through interception or improvised explosive devices.”


By moving cargo and personnel in and out of Afghanistan on a daily the 8th EAMS lives up to their motto, “You Need It….WE MOVE IT!”