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Air Mobility Command reactivates 18th Air Force

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (USTCNS) --- The first major change in the Air Force's organizational structure in more than a decade occurred here Oct. 1. During a formal ceremony, Air Mobility Command reactivated the 18th Air Force at Scott AFB, Ill., to lead the command's global airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation operations.

The morning also saw the redesignation of AMC's two numbered air forces, 15th Air Force, Travis AFB, Calif., and 21st Air Force, McGuire AFB, N.J., as expeditionary mobility task forces.

Gen. John W. Handy, commander of U.S. Transportation Command and AMC addressed his active duty, Reserve and Guard commanders in formation on the Scott parade field, as well as members of his staff, the Scott community and local civic leaders.

"What an historic day we're gathered here to witness, as Air Mobility Command makes perhaps the most dramatic transformation of its rich and incredible history," said General Handy.

He said the reactivation of the 18th AF and redesignation of the 15th and 21st EMTFs represents AMC's ability to present forces anywhere in the world, a world he called much smaller than the one we lived in five or 10 years ago. He said life dramatically changed for all Americans on Sept. 11, 2001.

"The world is no longer one of simple challenges," the general said. "The world is a complicated place... Our current Global War on Terrorism presents remarkable challenges to this command. It started on that tragic day and continues around the world today."

Maj. Gen. William Essex accepted the standard for the 18th AF from General Handy. He will serve as the organization's interim leader until a permanent commander is nominated for promotion to lieutenant general by the president and approved by Congress.

In his comments, General Essex focused on the 18th AF motto, "Expedite!"

"It means 'with dispatch,' or 'accomplish with speed or efficiency.' What motto could be more fitting for Air Mobility Command's reactivated 18th Air Force. It describes the very nature of our business and the attitude of every person connected to the 12 wings, two expeditionary mobility task forces, three separate groups and... our Tanker Airlift Control Center."

General Essex said the men and women of the organizations now in the 18th AF have shown the world that "AMC does everything with speed and efficiency. These same men and women will now set even higher standards in a leaner, transformed organizational structure."

The 18th AF is charged with tasking and executing all air mobility missions. All AMC wings and groups based in the continental United States report to the 18th Air Force.

The 15th and 21st EMTFs serve as lead agencies for conducting mobility operations worldwide, including air refueling, airlift, aeromedical evacuation and base opening. They are key to the execution phase of warfighting. Brig. Gen. Richard Perraut commands the 15th EMTF; Brig. Gen. Kurt Cichowski commands the 21st EMTF.

The Tanker Airlift Control Center, located at Scott AFB, also reports to the 18th Air Force and serves as the organization's air operations hub, planning and directing tanker and transport aircraft operations around the world. Brig. Gen. Paul Selva is the TACC commander.

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