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Safety enables Airmen to fly, fight, win

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Whitney Tucker
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
With mission capabilities such as the continuous bomber presence, theater security package and a contingency response group poised for action anywhere in the area of responsibility, the 36th Wing is accustomed to playing host to a myriad of bomber, refueling and fighter aircraft.

In light of the ever-increasing operations tempo, having a thorough knowledge of flightline safety regulations and procedures is of paramount importance to the Team Andersen mission.

"Following procedures and safety guidance is important in everyone's line of work," said Master Sgt. Byron Gwyn, 36th Wing Flight Safety noncommissioned officer. "The airfield is an especially busy and hazardous place to be if you do not know the correct procedures such as how to drive on the airfield or how to communicate on the radio using proper terminology."

In 2011, the 36th Wing reported five controlled movement area violations. These violations are caused when an aircraft, vehicle or pedestrian enters a CMA without air traffic control approval, jeopardizing the integrity of the airfield.

"Every one of the CMA violations Andersen had last year was related to inadequate communication or failure to follow driving procedures," Sergeant Gwyn said. "That's five times personnel crossed an active runway without the proper approval."

"At any of those moments an aircraft could have been landing, taxiing, or taking off from that same runway," he continued. "Following the correct procedures and safety guidance ensures everyone goes home at the end of the day and the mission is a success."

Multiple factors can negatively influence a driver's ability to navigate the airfield properly, such as unfamiliarity with the airfield, lack of experience, or failure to remain vigilant. However, infractions are most often found to be a direct result of shortcomings in the classroom.

"A common cause of runway incursions is poor training," said Tech. Sgt. Priscilla Lopez-Lucas, 36th Operations Support Squadron deputy airfield manager. "Some examples of poor training include not providing all training in accordance with airfield driving guidance, drivers not fully comprehending concepts and operating procedures, or drivers not maintaining proficiency by accomplishing annual refresher training."

Runway incursions have the potential to impede the Air Force mission and result in equipment endangerment and loss of life. In today's complex airfield environment, it is crucial to exercise situational awareness and strictly adhere to the procedures outlined in airfield driving guidance.

"We need your help in reducing the risk, improving the training and increasing awareness," Sergeant Lopez-Lucas said. "Incursions have a direct impact on the mission and increase the risk to aircraft pilots, passengers and personnel operating on the airfield. We all need to do our part to see our wingmen home safely."