Eyes, ears of America’s Airfield
By Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 12, 2017
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
The 89th Airlift Wing’s Special Air Mission provides transportation for the U.S. president, vice president, cabinet members, combatant commanders and other senior military leaders as tasked by the White House, Air Force chief of staff and Air Mobility Command. Members of Joint Base Andrews’ 89th Operations Support Squadron airfield management operations team work day and night to deliver support, safety and efficiency to the airfield environment which guarantees mission success
Sixteen airfield managers make up the team responsible for ensuring America’s premier airfield is safe by overseeing the day-to-day flightline operations.
“One of the key aspects of being an airfield manager is to be in tune with airfield criteria to balance the needs of our 24 flying units with airfield compliance and safety,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Eberlin, 89th OSS airfield manager.
Safety is provided by monitoring and responding to any possible safety hazards on the airfield, including wildlife, pavement discrepancies, sinkholes, obstructions, foreign object debris, airfield driving and radio communication.
Airfield management performs runway and taxiway inspections every two hours, looking for potential problems from broken lights to flightline markings. When issues are recognized, the team receives help from numerous base agencies to work toward solutions, which range from snow removal to more major actions such as construction.
The shop is also accountable for organization and notification by making sure the agencies they work with are aware of the circumstances.
To help manage airfield operations more efficiently, air-to-ground and land-mobile radios are utilized by airfield management.
These radios communicate with air traffic control, security forces, civil engineers and many other units for flightline operations. Each shop serves a different purpose, from reviewing flight plans to securing the flightline for the president’s arrivals and departures.
According to Eberlin, supporting the Special Air Mission as well as other flightline missions would not be possible without the involvement of all units involved.
“We rely heavily on a multitude of agencies to maintain a safe and effective airfield and it’s not something we can do alone,” said Eberlin. “We have a great relationship with the 11th Civil Engineer Squadron. Anytime I have an issue on the airfield and need something fixed, the 11th CES is jumping at the chance to improve our airfield. It’s a team effort and one of the reasons I love coming to work every day.”
Due to the sheer volume of responsibility, the highest standards are expected from each rank on the team.
“As soon as I arrived, I was expected and trusted with the daily operations that are a key role in supporting Air Force One, Two and the numerous government senior leaders’ security and safety,” said Airman 1st Class Isaiah Davis, 89th OSS airfield manager. “They count on us to provide a 24-hour service that ensures timely flying operations with minimum delay.”
Airfield management is the eyes and ears of the airfield. They are working 24/7 to help the JBA flying mission succeed by providing an over 1,000 acre airfield with safety, efficiency and support.