7th OSS wins best airfield management three years straight
By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Stefanko, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 11, 2013
DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 7th Operations Support Squadron, Airfield Operations flight was recently awarded, for the third consecutive year, the John B. McCarthy Airfield Management Facility of the Year for 2012.
Being named Airfield Management Facility of the year at the major command level, as well as winning at the Air Force level in 2011, takes more than just getting the job done, it takes a dedicated team that is willing to go above and beyond to achieve such accomplishments.
Their commitment ensured continued 24/7 support to Dyess Air Force Base, Air Combat Command, Air Education and Training Command, Air Mobility Command and the President's National Airborne Operations Center.
"The Airfield Management team portrays all of the Air Force's core values with their efforts during a bustling operations tempo and tight manning," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Engelker, 7th Operations Support Squadron commander. "Their professionalism and attention to detail are routinely praised by home station and transient aircraft commanders."
Additionally, they identified and repaired 300-square-feet of failed airfield pavement, eliminating $240 million in potential aircraft debris damage and directed two $312,000 rubber removal and re-painting projects, decreasing debris by 95 percent and aircraft hydroplane by 75 percent.
"We received this award due to the hard work and dedication from our Airmen and leadership," said Master Sgt. Thomas Autorino, 7th OSS airfield manager. "I have been blessed to be the airfield manager at a facility that has the mentality to do their best no matter what."
Autorino continued to explain how it would be impossible to complete their mission without the support teamwork they receive from other squadrons.
"The flightline will always require maintenance and it would be impossible to continue that maintenance without the support we receive from the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron," Autorino said. "Our job requires us to work with other agencies and when it comes to the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron they have the best, from their management all the way down to their Airmen."
With 50 to 200 vehicles continually moving back and forth providing constant repair to the flightline daily, an ongoing battle with foreign object debris, also known as FOD, demands a constant need to sustain a safe environment.
"Even with major projects going on at any given time in a high tempo operation we are still able to maintain a safe airfield," said Master Sgt. Linda Demuro, 7th OSS. "To ensure the airfield stays operational, a lot of moving parts are needed, increasing the chance for FOD. But because of our constant vigilance we have stayed 1,300 days FOD free, allowing the mission to continue without any hiccups."
To receive this award the Airfileld Management flight competed against 18 other bases in ACC. After winning at the ACC level, they will now move on to compete against other bases that won at their MAJCOM.
"Our job is airfield safety and support, we maintain that airfield to a standard that allows those planes to fly without any hazards," Demuro said. "But without the support of our leadership, the help from other agencies on base and the dedication of our Airmen, it would be close to impossible to complete that mission. This award required a team effort, and by winning three years in a row it proves that we are the most capable in ACC and we plan to continue from there. Our goal is to win at the next level and show we are the best in the Air Force."