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Bagram welcomes new tower

  • Published
  • By Capt. Toni Tones
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Bagram's operational capability was enhanced with the opening of $50 million air traffic control and associated support equipment here Feb. 26. 

The project includes a transportable transmitter and receiver site for all UHF/VHF communications, a digital containerized air surveillance radar, a precision approach radar and Afghanistan's first air traffic control tower and transportable radar approach control. 

"Bagram's new tower and associated equipment is the culmination of tremendous efforts on behalf of many leaders and organizations dating back to 2003," said Col. Art McGettrick, 455th Expeditionary Operations Group commander. "We've not only enhanced Bagram's operations, but advanced all combat operations supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Afghanistan's civil aircraft operations." 

The project was accepted and funding approved in 2005. Construction of the tower and a new runway began simultaneously. But the tower was the secondary focus until the runway completion in 2006. 

"The control tower is a crowning achievement for Bagram," said Capt. Darrin Layton, 455th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron Airfield Operations flight commander. "It and the TRAPCON have the most advanced equipment in the country. And it has one of maybe five elevators in Afghanistan." 

Colonel McGettrick thanked several organizations to include SPAWAR, Team RMS/Midwest Air Traffic Control, 455th Civil Engineer Squadron, and the 455th Expeditionary Mission Support Squadron Communication Flight for their "tremendous and key role in making and creating the world-class facility. 

"A special thanks goes to Susan Marsh, the project's site lead, who followed all the projects through to what we see today." 

Brig. Gen. James Hyatt, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, and Colonel McGettrick cut the ribbon and invited guests to tour the new facilities. 

The Federal Aviation Administration conducted its certification Feb. 27 and operations began in the new facilities Feb. 29.