The Shiloh village trustees were updated with a presentation on Scott Air Force Base’s liaison program during its Monday, Oct. 2 board meeting. The program is meant to improve communication between the base and the communities that surround it.
“It’s kind of an honor to be here talking to you about this … We couldn’t do it without your support — the community here, whether it’s Shiloh, O’Fallon — you guys are fantastic. It’s important for us to get the word out,” Lt. Col. Ray Smith, 932nd Airlift Wing Operations Group commander, said.
The SAFB 375th Mobility Command is “the host and we are the tenant, and they support us with many, many different resources so we can do our mission,” Smith said.
Mayor Jim Vernier said Col. Laura Lenderman, former 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, initiated a program last year called the “Honorary Commanders” program.
“It’s where various individuals from different communities team up with officials from the base and learn initiatives of the base and vice versa,” Vernier said.
Village Administrator John Marquart is Shiloh’s “commander.” Marquart will work directly with Smith to keep the village “in the loop with the goings-on of the group,” he said.
Smith is in charge of four squadrons, totaling about 210 members, providing air support for U.S. dignitaries and worldwide medical evacuation. There is another subgroup of 13 squadrons.
“Right now, we’ve got a team that’s down in St. Croix, and they’re currently bouncing back and forth between St. Croix and Puerto Rico to support the (medical evacuation) requirements there,” Smith said. “I know they’re doing a really good job getting some advanced dialysis patients out of there. So kudos to them.”
Smith said his squadrons “provide safe, comfortable and reliable air travel for our nation’s leaders,” such as with White House support missions, congressional delegations, joint operational support airlift center, and senior Department of Defense officials.
“Who (do) we fly? The First Lady, foreign heads of state, the Speaker of the House, White House chief of staff, all the way down to special assistants to the President of the United States,” Smith said.
The congressional delegations are about 50 percent of the wing’s requirements, while reserve command is about 21 percent, and joint operational support airlift center take up the remaining 29 percent, according to Smith.
“The interesting thing about us is the 73rd A.S. is the reserve side. The 54th A.S. is an active-duty squadron that’s under my jurisdiction for the support of the mission required… We fly C-40s. You live here, you’ve seen them — they’re gorgeous blue and whites that are taken everywhere,” Smith said.
“There are three jets out there today,” Smith continued. “(Tuesday) they’ll be down to about one. And, I think by the Congressional recess, they’ll all be gone. So we’re very, very busy, and we’re pretty much supporting the airlift requirements all throughout the world.”
Smith said the 932nd Air Medical Evacuation Squadron is going through “a lot of growing pains right now.”
“(It) is pretty significant and very busy right now… Right now, they’re at about 71 members in that squadron — we’re running at about 40 percent. So, in a year and a half, we should be about 99 folks,” Smith said.
The medical evacuation squadron fly on C-130s, C-17s and C-135s.
Dating back to the 1970s, the 932nd Airlift Wing has received more than 20 awards for flight safety and excellence, as well as assisted during periods of national crisis like the terrorist attack on the Pentagon building, Hurricanes Katrina and George and the European Kosovo Crisis.
Scott Air Force Base 932nd Airlift Wing
Operations Group Commander Lt. Col. Ray Smith oversees four squadrons totaling about 210 members:
- 73rd Airlift Squadron
- 932nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron
- 932nd Operations Support Flight
- 12th Operations Weather Flight
Source: SAFB 932nd Airlift Wing