SARM Airmen prepare aircrews for flight
By Airman 1st Class Kate Maurer, 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 19, 2013
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- While aircrews are busy performing missions, training at their home station or even getting a flight physical, there are Airmen standing by, tracking every minute of it - these are the Airmen of Squadron Aviation Resource Management.
Nearly 230 personnel are assigned to the 432nd Attack Squadron, six of which belong to its SARM office, all with the mission to remotely employ MQ-9 Reaper aircraft from ground control facilities located at Ellsworth.
"Basically, we make sure aircrews are qualified to do what they do," said Senior Airman Alexandria Murphy, 432nd ATKS aviation resource manager.
Murphy is one of six Airmen that operate the SARM office 24/7. SARM Airmen are responsible for a variety of tasks involving the growing aircrews' records. They create itineraries and briefs for upcoming flights and monitor qualifications, training, flight records and aviation history to prepare aircrews for their missions.
"Without us, the mission wouldn't get off the ground," said Murphy. "We're also kind of like customer service for the aircrews."
There are more than 70 records to manage at the 432nd ATKS, all needing constant updating. These flight records belong to the squadron's pilots and sensor operators - both of which require extensive training before flying. Aircrews must complete mission and initial qualification training, situational emergency procedures training, flight physicals, monthly tests, review their flight crew information files, and be current on all grounding items including crew risk management, instrument procedures and mission evaluations.
Pilots are also required to fly with an instructor if their last flight was more than 60 days ago - but without the help of the SARM keeping records up-to-date and aircrews completing their qualifications, they can't fly at all. Additionally, SARM Airmen are available to answer questions that the aircrews may have.
"With the 432nd ATKS newly operational, the SARM has a new aircraft to learn about," said Master Sgt. Andriea Cook, 28th Operations Group chief host aviation resource manager and functional manager. "Research and learning is required to make sure we take care of aircrews effectively."
In addition to Ellsworth's B-1s, SARM Airmen are trained for multiple airframes' records management. This training is important for when the Airmen undergo a permanent change of station or deploy downrange, where there could be a variety of airframes at one base.
The 432nd ATKS aviation resource managers guarantee the mission is accomplished by keeping aircrews well-trained and qualified.
"We make sure aircrew members are properly trained before they fly," said Cook. "We put them in the right place at the right time."