Airfield management: ready for anything
By Airman 1st Class Daniel Liddicoet, 49th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 02, 2012
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Airfield managers consistently maintain one of the most critical and multi-faceted missions on Holloman AFB, because they tirelessly ensure the safety of aircrews coming in and out of out of the base, as well as the functionality of the airfield - day and night.
Their Job frequently shifts from the desk to the airfield, and they divide their time between anything from foreign object sweeps of the runways, to fielding calls from air traffic controllers who facilitate the various needs of incoming and outgoing aircraft.
As an airfield manager, Senior Airman Christopher Proctor, 49th Operations Support Squadron, is also tasked with the immense responsibility of coordinating response efforts with up to 17 different agencies.
"It's up to us to make sure any in-flight emergency or ground mishap gets taken care of properly," he said. "We have to be on our toes and ready to respond."
Safety is another chief concern for airfield managers, and in many ways, it underlies nearly every action they take. They vigilantly monitor all activity on the airfield, from making sure all vehicle operators are properly licensed to drive, to overseeing construction projects.
"Safety is our number one concern," said Proctor. "We're here to make sure the pilots are secure and able to complete their missions."
Airfield managers operate through dedicated routine and seamless communication with the tower. Hourly foreign object debris inspections of the runways and daily airfield inspections become almost second nature. Every move they make is communicated they account for every possible threat to the integrity of the airfield.
"We're the only ones that can resume a runway," says Proctor. "We're responsible for making sure everything is good to go."
All operations on the airfield would come to a screeching halt without the careful coordination of airfield management. Pilots rely on their flight plans to ensure that fueling, maintenance, and transient needs are taken care of on both ends of the flight.
Julius Griffin, 49th OSS airfield manager, has found that the large breadth of responsibility entrusted in him prepares him for nearly anything down the road.
"Holloman is one of the most complex airfields anywhere," he said. "After doing the job here, I feel prepared for just about anything that could come my way."