Importance of joint operations at MacDill

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class David D. McLoney
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, has provided support for joint base operations since its establishment in 1939. Joint operations as a whole is important in the workforce due to each branch and base specializing in a certain mission.

Even with refueling as the primary mission, MacDill AFB takes pride in its ability to operate with and provide support to any branch of the military on a moment’s notice. Recently with naval operations, MacDill AFB assisted in refueling a fleet of Navy EA-18G Growlers from the Electronic Attack Squadron 209, a Navy Reserve unit from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. The pilots were heading to Naval Air Station Key West, Florida, for a two-week training evolution with their air wing.

“Although we are designated as an air refueling wing on the front gate, MacDill is more than that out on the airfield on any given day,” said Link Collier, 6th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager. “We have seen every branch of the Department of Defense, active duty, Air National Guard, Reserve, as well as the Royal Air Force, Federal Emergency Management Agency, FBI, local police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, foreign dignitaries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and more at MacDill. As always, airfield managers get the missions and complete the task.”

MacDill assists in a wide variety of missions, to include refueling a B-2 Spirit bomber after the Super Bowl LV flyover and an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter operating out MacDill AFB to demonstrate operational capabilities.

According to Staff Sgt. Hernandez Tyler, 6th Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller, due to MacDill’s location, it offers convenient accessibility for the entire DoD.

Joint base operations don’t just happen on the flight line. Both the U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. Central Command have been located at MacDill AFB for more than 30 years, operating with all six service branches.

“Inter-service and joint service airfields are vital to the overall DoD mission,” said Collier. “Each military branch brings a very unique skillset to the fight. With Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen, not to forget our allies, being able to train and support each other on training missions. It makes things much easier when it’s time to take the fight to the enemy.”

MacDill is the host wing to numerous flight missions and tenant units. It has a proven track record of assisting in joint operations on a regular basis. Joint operations allow every branch to train together and operate at their greatest capacities with minimal limitations, ensuring mission success both locally and globally.