Well, it has definitely changed. The morale flights out of Lajes were Space-A on C-135, C-5, C-141 and the weekly Navy medivac C-9 on it’s way to Rota. There was also a charter 727 or L1011 back to Philadelphia on a weekly basis. the base didn’t have it’s own military transport.
If you were in EML (Emergengy or Morale Leave) you were on the Space-A flight ahead of everybody but PCS passengers or family members of deceased military members being carried in the hold. You would bump normal leave passengers, retirees and family members traveling with normal leave military.
Your standing in the EML list was based on how long you had been on the Rock and rank didn’t have it’s privileges.
So, yes, I would say it had changed since Vietnam era. I don’t know how it works now as I haven’t been to Lajes since 1996. Eventually I will get back there. I have promised my wife that we would visit everywhere I was stationed in my career.
Flying Space-A on MAC - Military Airlift Command, aka “Maybe Airplane Come” was an adventure, indeed.