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Total force effort brings people home after Libyan attack

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A C-17 Globemaster III answered the urgent call to fly 36 passengers to safety out of Libya following the attack on the U.S. consulate Sept. 12 that had resulted in the death of the U.S. ambassador and three others.

The aircraft was under the command and control of the 618th Air and Space Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center).

During the mission, which was executed Sept. 12, the individuals were moved to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, for medical treatment and follow on travel to the United States where they landed Sept. 14 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. There they were greeted by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

"We were honored to help bring home the fallen and the other victims to their families and loved ones," said Maj. Gen. David Allvin, 618th AOC (TACC) commander. "Their ability to put together and execute this mission so quickly is commendable."

"We immediately started planning the moment we got the call," said Lt. Col. Doug Gracey, 618th AOC (TACC) deputy director of operations. "Our first steps were to identify an aircraft, aircrew and an aeromedical evacuation team that we could get together to make it all happen."

Col. Carmella Lawson, the senior controller on duty at the time, received the initial notification of the need for air mobility support.

The mission required air mobility people to reach across time zones, major commands and government agencies, demonstrating the unique capabilities of the 618th AOC (TACC) to support time-sensitive missions, officials said.

After receiving the final approval of the mission from United States Transportation Command, the 618th AOC (TACC) tasked an aircraft on a different mission to execute the emerging requirement for medical evacuation from Libya. Based on multiple variables, planners chose a C-17 scheduled to transport cargo to Southwest Asia. The aircraft, from the 437th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., was reconfigured for passengers and an aeromedical evacuation team.

To meet the short timeline, 618th AOC (TACC) planners worked with active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve personnel to bring together the people and resources necessary for success, officials said.

"Airmen from many different places came together to take these folks home in only 13 hours from mission approval," said Col. David Barnes, the senior controller during the flight. "It truly was a total force effort that made this mission possible."

The aircrew was made up of reservists from the 446th Airlift Wing out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and an aeromedical evacuation team from Ramstein AB.

The 618th AOC (TACC) is responsible for planning, tasking and controlling air mobility missions around the globe.

Article by Capt. Mauri Slater, 618th Air and Space Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center) Public Affairs