386th EOSS Airfield Management elevates mission readiness
By Staff Sgt. Arielle Vasquez, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 25, 2019
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Maintaining over 52 million square feet is no easy task, but it is exactly what seven highly devoted Airmen do for Air Force Central Command’s busiest flight line day in and day out.
The 386th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron Airfield Management team is charged with managing the airfield at The Rock to ensure mission success, while also reducing any threats that may arise on the runway.
“We are the gateway for this Area of Responsibility,” said Master Sgt. Jordan Boothe, 386th EOSS airfield manager. “It’s our job to provide a safe, efficient and effective airfield for all of the operations we have here. If we don’t provide this environment, it can potentially result in incidents or even a closed airfield.”
Airmen from the 386th EOSS are on the flight line everyday ensuring runway safety and supporting all aircraft, including host nation, Department of Defense, coalition flying units and transient aircraft.
A major aspect of the 386th EOSS airfield management team’s responsibilities is to inspect the airfield throughout the day. These inspections consist of sweeps for foreign objects or debris, airfield markings visibility tests and lighting.
In addition to many responsibilities that come with airfield management, Staff Sgt. Kory Hitchens, 386th EOSS non-commissioned officer in charge of airfield management operations and airfield driving program manager, has taken the airfield driving program to a new level and along with his team, have licensed approximately 2,000 drivers during their rotation.
“We have one of the largest and most diverse airfield driving programs,” he said. “We have so many different units and nations as well as a number of different missions taking place here. It’s a great responsibility, but quite an experience to have the opportunity to train all the airfield driving program managers for the entire base.”
Also critical to the overall mission, is the team’s responsibility to file flight plans for all outgoing aircraft and distribute flight plans to all control centers in need of information.
Supporting the mission at an expeditionary environment has proven to be significantly more demanding, but also rewarding for the airfield management team.
Hitchens has said that working with other host nations and coalition partners has presented some challenges as far as planning and communication goes, but has also been a learning experience for him.
“It’s been incredible working side-by-side with our coalition partners and gaining insight and different perspectives,” he said. “Being here has expanded my view and I am fortunate to have had that opportunity.
“The expectations here are high and we are continuously pushing the bar,” Hitchens continued. “The support here has been so overwhelming and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to accomplish what we do every day.”
Ensuring overall mission success and proper maintenance of the airfield would be impossible without the 386th EOSS Airfield Management team. They are clearly no strangers to going above and beyond for the security of U.S. and coalition partners.