Maintaining the Air Force's most essential weapons system; the airfield
By Airman 1st Class Tiffany Price, 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 20, 2020
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. –
The flight line can be a very busy place between aircraft, vehicles, equipment and Airmen. Traffic is a constant, which leaves the important responsibility of maintaining this active environment to the 325th Operations Support Squadron airfield management section.
Airfield management is out on the airfield every day to ensure a successful mission, especially during large scale exercises like the recent Checkered Flag 21-1 in early November, where over 50 different aircraft from seven different units utilized Tyndall’s airfield.
“The scope and scale of the missions, during both large exercises and daily flight ops is critical to maintaining air dominance around the world,” said Lt. Col. Russell Badowski, 325th OSS commander.
Senior Master Sgt. Jenn Herr, 325th OSS airfield manager, explained that Tyndall’s airfield management section is tasked with maintaining three runways, six parking ramps and 23 taxiways, which could be considered one of most important ‘weapons systems’ in the Air Force inventory.
“Here at Tyndall we face a unique challenge in supporting daily flying missions and complex exercises like Checkered Flag 21-1 and Agile Flag 21-1,” said Herr. “We play a heavy role in ensuring that throughout planning, execution, and completion of construction projects we continue to operate a safe, efficient and effective airfield.”
The airfield management team helps schedule flight plans and coordinates with engineers, safety and other maintenance teams to make sure the runways are flawless. They also communicate constantly with the air traffic control tower to maintain awareness of aircraft, vehicles and Airmen on the airfield.
“Our number one priority is aircraft safety,” said Airman 1st Class Jordyn Cole, 325th OSS airfield management shift lead. “We perform daily, sometimes hourly, inspections of the airfield to make sure there is nothing that might obstruct or damage any of the incoming or outgoing aircraft.”
If anything is found out on the flight line that could be dangerous to aircraft or Airmen, the airfield management team will either resolve the issue themselves or coordinate with the appropriate organizations to get the problem solved.
“[Tyndall’s] missions couldn’t happen without a safe airfield to take off and land. That all starts with the airfield management team,” said Badowski.