AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
The airfield can be a very busy place. Multiple planes take off and land daily, vehicles transport Airmen and equipment to various locations, and even the runway itself can become a task with the maintenance it requires to maintain it. Charged with maintaining the accountability of everything on the airfield is the 380th Expeditionary Operational Support Squadron’s Airfield Managers at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.
Airfield Management is responsible for the upkeep of all runways, taxiways, aprons and infields. This includes coordinating repairs and maintenance through 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron for pavements, lighting, signs, and navigational aids. Airfield Management inspects airfield surfaces to ensure a safe environment for uninterrupted takeoff and landings.
“Airfield Management contributes to ADAB's mission daily, by maintaining a safe and functional airfield environment,” said Tech. Sgt. Alisha Singletary, 380th Operational Support Squadron deputy airfield manager. “We ensure the air tasking orders happen through flight planning, issuing flight safety advisories, and inspecting the airfield for deficiencies that could potentially affect flying capabilities.”
These Airmen 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.
“This is a joint endeavor here at ADAB,” said Singletary. “The host nation is the Senior Airfield Authority and also has a dedicated airfield management section. Additionally, we coordinate all ATOs arrivals and departures with the host nation to be included into their daily flying schedule, which allows us to continue flying. All aircraft departing must have a flight plan on file, which is accomplished at airfield management.”
As part of their responsibilities, 380th EOSS Airmen inspect the airfield throughout the day for anything that might obstruct operations or damage aircraft. Once issues are identified, they either handle the matter themselves or work with the appropriate organizations to resolve it.
“During an inspection, we’re checking every surface making sure there are no obstructions,” said Airman Jesse Meraz, 380th EOSS airfield management operations coordinator. “We also coordinate engine runs for maintenance or anything like that for aircraft. Usually before we come out for checks or inspections we make sure we check into those.”
They also closed portions of the runway for various runway repairs, but continued to support ongoing airfield operations to maintain mission readiness.
“There is an extensive level of coordination and planning for airfield construction projects to meet what is required operationally for mission execution,” added Singletary.
Airmen who work on the runway can know they are safe thanks to the expertise of airfield management.
“Without Airfield Management, ADAB's air tasking orders could potentially fail and there would be a high risk for an aircraft mishap to occur,” said Singletary.