Friday, April 14, 2017

TOP STORY >> Airfield management keeps aircrew safe

By Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols

19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The mighty C-130’s many capabilities make it a valuable asset for delivering supplies and troops. Members of the 19th Operations Support Squadron Airfield Management team work around the clock to provide a safe, efficient and effective airfield environment, which ensures the mission of global reach succeeds. 

Eleven service members and two civilians make up the airfield management crew, responsible for ensuring a safe airfield by overseeing all vehicle traffic on the flightline.

The team conducts airfield checks every two hours, looking for problems from potholes to foreign objects and debris. After the issues are identified, the team enlists help from multiple base agencies to work toward solutions which range from cutting grass to more major endeavors like construction.

The shop is responsible for coordination and notification and making sure the agencies they work with are aware of situations.

Airfield management coordinates with the air traffic control tower, security forces, protocol and many other units for flightline operations. Each shop serves a different purpose, from reviewing flight plans to keeping birds away.

“Communication is key; we have to speak regularly with other units,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Way, 19th OSS Airfield Management shift lead. “Without communication the mission would ground to a halt. We rely on each other for getting aircraft in the sky,” he said.

Because of the sheer amount of responsibility, the highest standards are expected from every civilian and Airman on the team. New Airmen are required to be fully certified within six months of arrival and are trained to perform efficiently without assistance. 

“Customer service is a big part of our job especially for newer Airmen,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Bornhauser, 19th OSS Airfield Management operations NCO in charge. “We train our guys to be problem solvers because their number one job is to assist in any way they can within our lane.”

Sustaining rapid global mobility would not be possible without the contribution of all units involved, and the airfield management shop is no exception.

“When we close down, the airfield closes down,” Bornhauser said. “Without airfield management there’s no way to guarantee that an aircraft traveling to the runway will get there safely.”

Day in and day out, the team is always working to help the Combat Airlift mission succeed by providing a safe airfield for all flightline operations.

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