Airmen stay mission-ready despite tempo flux

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps
  • 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Airmen at the 391st Fighter Squadron welcomed a return to normal flying hours at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

Although the squadron halted its four-month flying hiatus July 17, due to approved funding, the effects of lost flying hours were not only felt by aircrew, but those who support them as well.

"We are extremely important to keeping the mission going and getting the pilots down-range and into the fight," explained Tech. Sgt. Grady Black, 366th Operations Support Squadron acting chief controller.

"I am extremely happy to get back to normal because there's just certain things you can't simulate without being in the real environment. In an undermanned career field, with civilian furloughs, it's been especially important so the individuals we do have are as qualified as possible."

As detrimental as reduced flying-hours could be for some occupations, others were able to shift their focus and capitalize on other opportunities.

"When we lost some flying hours, we had to make-due with simulators and things of that nature to keep up on our training," said Black.

For the members of a key support role, like airfield management, communication is often fundamental to mission success.

"It's important we can work cohesively with other career fields dealing with the airfield, from air traffic control to the maintainers, because any miscommunication could lead to costly errors," said Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Swift, 366th OSS airfield management operations coordinator.

With this in mind, airfield management personnel sought ways to always stay productive despite fluctuating operation tempos.

"As Airmen, we were able to utilize some down-time to accomplish a lot of training, ensuring we stayed productive and making it easy to get back in the swing of things when flight hours were back to normal," said Swift.