LZSO training course accelerates change at Andersen AFB

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ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam – Airmen with the 36th Operations Support Squadron participated in a landing zone safety officer (LZSO) training course alongside the 36th Contingency Response Squadron at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Aug. 14 - 18, 2023.

The ability to control air traffic in austere locations is a crucial skill for the Air Force. However, this skill is not limited to just those with Air Traffic Control specialties. The LZSO training course allows Airmen from various Air Force Specialty Codes to learn how to effectively control air traffic in challenging environments.

“As a radar airfield weather systems (RAWS) supervisor I usually just work on the stuff that air traffic controllers use to land planes, but by going to this course, now I know how to communicate with incoming and outgoing pilots,” said Staff Sgt. Reilly Klinder, RAWS supervisor with the 36th OSS.

Students began their learning journey in the classroom. They then had the opportunity to apply what they learned in real-world scenarios.

Members of the training accompanied by experienced LZSO’s worked hard practicing airfield management functions, air traffic control functions and RAWS functions at Fortress landing zone at the Pacific Regional Training Center-Andersen as well as Baker LZ on the island of Tinian in both daytime and nighttime conditions.

During the training session, a total of 64 low passes and landing operations were conducted at Fortress LZ. Additionally, there were seven drop zone operations carried out at the same location. Furthermore, 16 low passes and landings took place at Baker LZ.

“Because of this course, I now know how to establish a landing zone and bring planes in,” said Klinder.

The LZSO training course also plays an important role in supporting the agile combat employment operations concept. This course not only focuses on producing multi-capable Airmen but also emphasizes the importance of practicing flexible and adaptable ways of projecting air power.

“This course will really allow hub and spoke operations to take place,” said Tech. Sgt. Jay Smith, airfield operations section chief with the 36th CRS. “With these new students that we just certified, we can deploy them in teams of as small as two, to open up a location in a matter of hours to start bringing airflow in, both mobility and tactical aircraft can then come into these less established locations to operate.”

The LZSO training course allowed Airmen from the 36th OSS to obtain many different skills that they wouldn't have gotten in their own career fields. This not only benefits them as a person and Airman, but improves the capabilities and readiness of the Air Force as a whole.