SARM: Keeping warfighters on track

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Areca T. Bell
  • 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force F-22 pilots at Joint Base Langley-Eustis work closely with U.S. Air Force T-38 Talon pilots, who pose as adversary air, to improve their war-fighter capabilities.


However, before pilots can perform their duties, they must sharpen their skills and ensure they have proper documentation before they fly. T-38 pilots assigned to the 71st Fighter Training Squadron rely on a 3-person team, known as the squadron aviation resource managers, who ensure they are “good-to-go” when it comes to being legally qualified to fly.


“We track all of the pilots’ training to make sure they’re good to fly,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Erica Mathiesen, 71st FTS NCO in charge of ARM. “The pilots are busy, so we are to here to monitor and let them know when they have stuff due.”


To ensure the best assistance is provided to approximately 38 pilots, the SARMs fill out and double check each member’s flight authorizations before they step out to the flight line.


“Flight authorizations are the forms we fill out once we’ve checked all of their training—it pretty much says they are legal to fly,” said Mathiesen. “If you’re working the desk (before the first flight of the day), you’ll come in, pull up the flight authorizations we’ve done and recheck their documentation to make sure they are good-to-go.”


The SARMs’ responsibilities does not stop at tracking each pilot’s training. They also coordinate with several other offices to ensure a smooth transition from the ground to the air and vice versa.


“When the pilots come to land, they call us over the radio to give us their codes, which I information on if the jet’s good or if there are any issues (for us to pass on to maintenance) to let them know the status of the jets,” said Mathiesen. “We also coordinate with weather to have them come out to give the pilots a weather briefing if need be. Additionally, we also coordinate with base operations (to let them know) what flying routes the pilots are taking.”


In addition to keeping track of the pilots training and working with exterior organizations, the SARMs also assist with the familiarization and incentive flights where non-flyers get to fly in the back seat of the T-38 Talons.


“Once a person gets approved for the Familiarization and Incentive Flight program, and they’ve accomplished all of their training, they bring their documentation over and we’ll make sure they’ve completed everything required and have their approval letters,” said Mathiesen. “We then direct them to scheduling, so they can be scheduled to fly.”


Despite having to track the records of multiple members and programs, the SARMs acknowledge the importance of their duties, which drives their passion to get the job done.


According to Airman 1st Class Kevin O’Hara II, 71st FTS ARM journeyman, SARMs are essential to making the flight process as smooth as possible for each pilot.


“Our job is important because without us they won’t know if they can actually fly or some of them may not get flight pay if their (documentation) is not correct or not put in on time,” he said. “If we don’t input their training they may not get their currencies, (which they need) to continue flying.”


The SARMs actions help ensure aircrew members are equipped and ready to facilitate mission success. They are a vital asset to ensuring adversary air is trained and ready to fly to contest the F-22 pilots stationed at JBLE.