728th AMS: Gatekeepers of Incirlik

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --

The 728th Air Mobility Squadron is the first stop for anything or anyone coming or going to the rest of the base. Like gatekeepers who stand guard at their gate, they stand at the aerial port.

The 728th AMS is comprised of three different sections focusing on the passenger terminal, freight and the air terminal operations center.

Airmen running the terminal focus on customer service. They issue the passengers’ tickets, check in their baggage and ensure the travelers get through the gate to leave on time. In addition, the Airmen run baggage claims and work with Turkish customs for arrivals.

“I make sure customers are taken care of,” said Tech. Sgt. Steven Gray, 728th AMS passenger service operations NCO in charge.

The squadron is responsible for handling all baggage from check in to departure. After the passengers’ bags have been checked in, they make their way to freight.

Freight Airmen load and unload aircraft that fly into Incirlik. They ensure all movements of cargo are put where they need to go. The Airmen are also responsible for servicing the aircraft if it is needed.

Coordination between the terminal, the Airmen in freight, and the aircraft itself is done by ATOC.

“There’s a lot of manifesting and planning done through the operations center,” said Airman 1st Class Michael Turner, 728th AMS air transportation journeyman. “The coordination is crucial to keep timelines and ensuring all passengers and their baggage get where they need to go.”

“We rely on each other,” said Staff Sgt. Adrian Diaz, 728th AMS information controller.

ATOC keeps record of how many seats are available on any flight and communicates between the different sections to keep them updated on any changes.

“Without ATOC, there would be a lot of confusion, and coordination would not be as smooth,” said Diaz.

ATOC keep records of departure and arrival times. They communicate with the passenger terminal to keep passengers informed. They also coordinate with freight so that all sections are prepared for the arrival.  

When the departing aircraft leaves, the squadron’s job continues as they prepare for the next inbound flight.

“It’s a team effort,” said Gray. “We all work together. It’s a big team.”