SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – In the hot deserts of Kuwait, it may seem hard to keep up with all the Aircraft taking off and touching down, but the Airmen of airfield management keep things running smoothly with a fierce set of eyes and a firm attention to detail across the flightline.
Tech. Sgt. Anthony Cooper, 375th Operation Support Squadron NCOIC of airflow manager operations, was on a runway responding to an F-15 that landed after experiencing an in-flight emergency. To keep operations moving, Cooper guided the jet to a safe area to be fixed, and while he was doing that he noticed a potential hazard.
“It’s very important that it didn’t get sucked up into another aircraft engine,” said Cooper
Because the F-15 had to make an emergency landing the arresting gear cable that hooks to the tail-end and deaccelerates the jet, snapped a steel bracket about the size of a hockey puck. Cooper removed the bracket from the flightline, because debris like that could tear through an engine slowing the mission down and endangering Airmen.
For airfield management, attention to detail is vital to performing their job with excellence, maintain the airfield to ensure Airmen safety 24/7. Without them, the runway would become hazardous, and the Airfield is important to mission success.
“We maintain the largest weapon system,” said Senior Airman Samir Ragih, 375th OSS airfield management shift lead. “Aircraft use our runway so our goal is to keep it clean.”
Recently, these Airmen worked overnight to land C-130s from Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base, Ohio, to act as a midpoint for refueling, and the aircraft they fuel up are used to transport evacuees from Afghanistan for Operation Allies Refuge. These Airmen coordinated with the pilots and executed their mission to ensure they landed safely.
Ragih believes that coordination is the biggest obstacle. Since they work shift hours and the mission never stops, they need to be ready at a moment’s notice. He also states that the job is fast paced, especially when responding to emergencies.
If an emergency does happen, they have talk to agencies like the fire department and medical professionals to tell them when and where to respond. Since they are speaking on behalf of the tower, the importance of reaching out to them is key.
“We’re kind of the voice for the tower to make sure that all the appropriate agencies are where they need to be,” said Ragih.
Airfield management Airmen have to stay vigilant to make sure airfield operations move smoothly. From building a runway, to staying overnight to coordinate a landing, they are busy, but continue to perform with excellence.