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SARM team keeps BAF pilots mission ready

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cierra Presentado
  • 455th AEW Public Affairs
The 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron Aviation Resource Management team works closely with Bagram F-16 pilots, ensuring they are current and qualified to fly their combat missions here.

The SARMs team is responsible for tracking flight hours for each pilot, as well as making sure each flyer is current on their flight physicals and they also transfer information to the maintenance and operations squadrons regarding the pilot’s status.

“If something isn’t working on the jet, whether it’s while the pilots are flying or before they take off, they’ll let us know over the radios. Then we let maintenance know and they get a team ready to do the repairs,” said Airman 1st Class Bryana Brown, 555th EFS aviation resource manager. “We’re the middle man between the pilots and the other squadrons.”

Each Bagram F-16 pilot is authorized to fly no more than a certain number of hours a week. To ensure a pilot does not go over their hours, the SARMs team tracks all flight movement and works with the maintenance and operations squadrons to make sure all numbers match. The team also manages the squadron’s flight hour program, which tracks all sorties flown during the month.

“There’s a lot to what we do. We’re constantly updating new information. The majority of the pilots here are deployed from Aviano Air Base, but we have a few from other bases as well. So, that means we have to coordinate with the other home stations to make sure these pilots are qualified to fly the missions before they get in a jet,” said TSgt. Sal Matteos, 555th EFS aviation operations flight chief. “Without our team there would be a lot of confusion. Someone has to keep track of all this information, that’s what we’re here for.”

In addition to keeping track of the pilots, the SARMs team also runs the flag flying program. The program allows BAF personnel to purchase U.S. flags, and the SARMs team in turn gives it to an F-16 pilot to fly with when on a combat mission. The flag is then presented with a signed certificate.

“Our flag flying program is a passed down tradition here at the ‘Triple Nickel.’ It’s a popular program where you can have a flag flown over Afghanistan for yourself, a friend or family member…whoever you want it for,” said Brown. “People also use the flags for retirement gifts and other occasions.”

The SARMs team is a small team of Airmen who work together to
manages the shop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With the constant flight movement, the team is always prepared and ready to handle any situation.

“SARM is the nerve center for operations. Whether coordinating with maintenance or validating flying currencies, SARM is always the focal point of daily flying operations,” Matteos said.