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Airfield management: ready for anything

Senior Airman Christopher Proctor, 49th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager, fires a scare gun to ward off animals from the runway at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., June 25. Airfield managers are tasked with ensuring runways are safe and operable at all times, which includes making sure foreign objects and animals are cleared out of the way. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel E. Liddicoet/Released)

Senior Airman Christopher Proctor, 49th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager, fires a scare gun to ward off animals from the runway at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., June 25. Airfield managers are tasked with ensuring runways are safe and operable at all times, which includes making sure foreign objects and animals are cleared out of the way. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel E. Liddicoet/Released)

Julius Griffin, 49th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager, fields a phone call from the air traffic control tower at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., June 26. Communications with air traffic control is an integral part of an airfield manager’s job. Airfield managers are responsible for relaying all the information they receive from air traffic control to the proper authorities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel E. Liddicoet/Released)

Julius Griffin, 49th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager, fields a phone call from the air traffic control tower at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., June 26. Communications with air traffic control is an integral part of an airfield manager’s job. Airfield managers are responsible for relaying all the information they receive from air traffic control to the proper authorities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel E. Liddicoet/Released)

Senior Airman Christopher Proctor, 49th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager, and John Nappier, construction foreman, discuss on-going construction taking place on the airfield at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., June 25. Airfield management is responsible for overseeing all construction projects taking place on the airfield and ensuring the safety and timeliness of all workers involved. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel E. Liddicoet/Released)

Senior Airman Christopher Proctor, 49th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager, and John Nappier, construction foreman, discuss on-going construction taking place on the airfield at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., June 25. Airfield management is responsible for overseeing all construction projects taking place on the airfield and ensuring the safety and timeliness of all workers involved. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel E. Liddicoet/Released)

Senior Airman Christopher Proctor, 49th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager, uses a range finder to estimate the distance of objects on the airfield at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., June 25. Airfield managers must know the exact whereabouts of all incoming and outgoing aircraft on the airfield. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel E. Liddicoet/Released)

Senior Airman Christopher Proctor, 49th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager, uses a range finder to estimate the distance of objects on the airfield at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., June 25. Airfield managers must know the exact whereabouts of all incoming and outgoing aircraft on the airfield. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel E. Liddicoet/Released)

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."




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