JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
The 201st Airlift Squadron upholds one of the Air National Guard’s unique missions: transporting high ranking government and military officials from Joint Base Andrews to locations around the world.
The squadron is the only one in the ANG that serves the very important person special airlift mission and brings their members face-to-face with the nation’s senior leaders.
“The 201st AS enables the worldwide application of U.S. power in support of national objectives by providing the premier VIP airlift experience to national leadership,” said Lt. Col. Brian Winkler, 201st AS commander. “In other words, we take people who can apply diplomatic, military, informational, and economic national power to the places they need to be to use it effectively. And, we do it with style!”
The 201st AS and their three C-40 Clippers are tasked with congressional transports and Mission Readiness Airlifts through the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which determines the legality and validity of the trips, and Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, which divvies out each assignment.
Congressional transports are their highest priority and provide worldwide transportation for members of the Executive Branch, Congress and Department of Defense, as well as high-ranking U.S. foreign dignitaries.
“We provide a very significant asset to the leaders of the country,” said Master Sgt. Ryonn Taylor, 201st AS aircrew training NCO in charge. “We have the unique capability of taking passengers into different countries without the constant pressure of press and attention.”
Additionally, the squadron conducts Mission Readiness Airlifts, which are authorized by the National Guard Bureau for personnel and cargo requiring transportation to meet training requirements. They also provide aircrews with practical experience involving cargo, unfamiliar operating locations and other qualification requirements.
Regardless of who they are transporting, the 201st AS ensures transportation safety, provides in-flight comfort and supplies efficient travel on every flight.
“We provide first-class travel wherever it’s needed,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Montgomery, 201st AS flight attendant. “We also make sure we always have a safe plane ready to go at all times.”
To achieve this level of performance, the 201st AS hires qualified personnel who are often prior active duty military.
On the pilot side, the squadron hires personnel with eight to 10 years of experience in the field and more than 3,000 flying hours.
Aspiring 201st AS flight attendants also require lengthy training composed of survival school, aircrew basic and career field courses, and an airplane- and unit-specific program. Similarly to pilots, prior personnel in the career field require less preparation before joining the unit.
The 201st AS pulls together these varying skill sets from their personnel and mission partners to consistently provide transportation to the nation’s leaders.
“To ensure success, we live by our organizational values of trust, teamwork, effort and commitment,” Winkler said. “Developing, upholding and strengthening these values provides the organizational framework for empowered members to succeed on every front.”