Military Wiki
21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force
Emblem of the 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force
Active 18 June 1942–19 March 2012
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Current command chief Chief Master Sergeant Dale B. Barton

The 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force (21 EMTF) was one of two EMTFs assigned to the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command. It was headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The 21 EMTF was a redesignation of Twenty-First Air Force, effective 1 October 2003.

The 21st EMTF reported to Headquarters, Eighteenth Air Force at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. It was inactivated on March 19, 2012.[1]


The 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force (EMTF) provided a rapid, tailored, worldwide, air mobility response to combatant commander's needs. Reporting through Eighteenth Air Force, the EMTF extended existing AMC infrastructure, through both en route employment and rapid forward deployment capabilities.

Its mission was to command and assess the combat readiness of assigned air mobility forces over the Atlantic half of the globe in support of Global Reach. These forces were at more than 55 locations in eight countries. 21 EMTF's major units included six active duty wings, two operational flying groups, and two mobility operations/support groups. Additionally, the 21 EMTF was liaison to 40 Air Reserve Component Wings.

21 EMTF's strategic airlift force included the C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster III and the C-130 Hercules, aircraft, used to move cargo and passengers worldwide. The tanker force included KC-10 Extenders and KC-135 Stratotankers used for inflight refueling to provide increased global mobility.

In addition to the Task Force's airlift and refueling mission, the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland provided worldwide administrative airlift support to the President of the United States and other top government officials flying the C-20, C-21, C-32, VC-25 (Air Force One), VC-137, and UH-1 aircraft.


MacDill Air Force Base, Florida
Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas
Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina
Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland
McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey

Dover Air Force Base, Delaware
Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina
Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas
Ramstein Air Base, Germany
McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey


Created as a wing of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, it gradually evolved into the 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force. Initially, it ferried aircraft, but by 1942, its mission had changed to airlifting personnel and cargo.


Routes of the Eastern Transport Air Force, 1964

  • Established as 23d Army Air Forces (AAF) Ferrying Wing on 12 June 1942
Activated on 18 June 1942
Redesignated North Atlantic Wing on 5 July 1942
Redesignated North Atlantic Division on 27 June 1944
Redesignated Atlantic Division on 20 September 1945
Redesignated Atlantic Division on 1 June 1948
Redesignated Eastern Transport Air Force on 1 July 1958
Redesignated Twenty-First Air Force on 3 January 1966
Redesignated 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force on 1 October 2003
Inactivated on 19 March 2012


Major components

1 March 1976 – 30 September 1977; 15 December 1980-1 October 1985
3 January 1966 – 24 December 1968; 23 June 1978-1 April 1992
1–31 December 1974


Aerospace vehicles

C-5 Galaxy; C-17 Globemaster III; C-130 Hercules; C-141 Starlifter; KC-10 Extender; KC-135 Stratotanker.

Operational history

21st Air Force.png

1966 emblem of the 21st Air Force, based on the MATS Eastern Transport Air Force emblem

21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force units provided airlift in support of national policy under the most difficult circumstances.

Under Military Air Transport Service, Eastern Transport Air Force (EASTAF), headquartered at McGuire AFB, New Jersey, controlled all strategic airlift operations between the Mississippi River and the east coast of Africa and in Central and South America. When MATS became Military Airlift Command, EASTAF was redesignated Twenty-First Air Force, with the same area of responsibility. In addition to Dover AFB, other major 21st AF bases were Charleston AFB, South Carolina and McGuire AFB, NJ. Depending upon command organization at different times, airlift and airlift support units in Europe, the Azores, Bermuda and throughout the southeastern United States also reported to EASTAF or 21st AF.

Operating as Twenty-First Air Force, in Operation Just Cause, Twenty-first Air Force units conducted the largest night airdrop since World War II, leading to the liberation of Panama. Twenty-first Air Force controlled the largest airlift in history during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, ensuring the success of our response to Iraqi aggression. Twenty-First Air Force was involved in operations in Bosnia and Southwest Asia.

The command also supported peaceful, humanitarian missions. Twenty-first Air Force units flew relief missions after Hurricane Hugo (1989) and Andrew (1992), earthquakes in Armenia and San Francisco, and many other natural disasters. In addition, it controlled the Operation Provide Comfort airlift missions to the Kurds following the Persian Gulf War, the Operation Provide Hope airlift in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and participated in Operation Restore Hope, the humanitarian airlift of food and supplies into Somalia.

The ETF supported numerous exercises around the world, one of which was CENTRAZBAT, in which C-17’s flew multi-national paratroopers non-stop from Pope AFB, North Carolina, airdropping them directly into the Central Asian countries of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan demonstrating the capabilities of direct delivery. The command could operate in remote, often austere locations throughout Europe, Africa, and South America.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. "21st EMTF inactivates, expands EC's role in global air mobility". 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs. March 19, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 

Further reading

  • Snedeker, Clayton H. Twenty-first Air Force: Chronology of Significant Events, 1966–present. McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey: 21st Air Force Office of History, 1990.

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).