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Tower renovations improve operations, training capabilities

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Veronica McMahon
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
While aircraft conduct sorties from the flightline, Andersen's air space provides training for deployed forces improving the Air Force's warfighter capability.

This complicated ground and air dance of aircraft and vehicles depend upon the command and control of the tower. After four decades of standing more than 260 feet tall, recent renovations have been accomplished to enhance its capabilities for the future.

"All these renovations not only keep systems in place and stable, but keep pilots, ground crew and aircraft safe because we are able to keep the communication airways open," said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Arce, 36th Operations Support Squadron Training and Standardization non-commissioned officer in-charge. "It was a big push to get this accomplished before Cope North 2012 to ensure exercise success."

The tower, which used to be the Department of Defense's tallest free standing tower, now has a new edition which will be used as a training and conference room. The tower has been built to last and withstand future typhoons and earthquakes.

Other renovations to the tower include: water and electrical upgrades, fire suppression systems and the refurbishment of cabinets and office space.

"Without the renovations we wouldn't have been able to complete the Air Force mission," Sergeant Arce said. "We are responsible for the safe movement of aircraft in and out of Andersen AFB."

The renovation process initially began in August and by October the air traffic control staff moved to a mobile ATC location so the tower could undergo the proper renovations. This was the longest the staff had to relocate since the tower's initial construction and the alternate site was much smaller and difficult to work in with limited visibility.

"We have to be able to support aircrew and the flying mission as expeditiously and safely as possible so that aircrews can complete the mission they were designed to accomplish," said Senior Master Sgt. Lawrence Witt, 36 OSS chief controller. "Sergeant Arce has been a rock behind this project and it is very impressive how smoothly it ran."

On Jan. 24 the 21-person staff of enlisted Airmen was able to relocated back into the tower where they found the remolded accommodations very well done.

"Here at Andersen we can go from few operations to continuous launch and recoveries and the staff needs to be able to adjust to that," said Sergeant Witt. "Now the crew is able to get the job done more smoothly and the overall morale is enhanced when Airmen are moving these aircraft. We now have a building that matches the caliber of the operations and people working here."