No management, no mission

  • Published
  • By by Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
With operations happening night and day on Bagram Airfield, the flightline gets plenty of use as aircraft and vehicles traverse its concrete course. As with everything else that gets constant use, the flightline needs continual care and upkeep.

As a significant contributor to air support in Afghanistan, the airfield here at Bagram needs to be managed with scrutiny and attention to detail. The Bagram Airfield Operations team works 24/7 providing airfield management to maintain operational readiness and ensure flightline safety.

This team is headed by Leslie Ellis, an Air Force retiree who has supported the mission at Bagram for 11 years.

“We maintain the airfield and make sure aircraft can get in and out of here safely,” said Leslie Ellis, air traffic manager. “We inspect runways, taxiways, ramps and manage the airfield driving program and identify things that need to be fixed so that they are in compliance with the regulations.”

The team also makes sure FOD (foreign object debris) checks are completed by those traveling on the flightline.

“One of the biggest issues we have on the airfield is FOD,” said Ellis. “FOD can be anything blowing on the airfield that can be ingested by aircraft engines. There’s an ongoing fight against FOD on the airfield.”

Airfield managers are known as the eyes and ears of the flightline, so when they recognize discrepancies such as broken signal lights or cracked concrete, they often call on other organizations for help.

“CE [Civil Engineer] plays a big role in what we do,” said Ellis. “Everything we identify has to be fixed by somebody and that would be civil engineers.”

If you have ever driven on the flightline, chances are you have encountered an airfield manager. Airfield driving authorization is only granted after individuals have received training from airfield managers. This training consists of day and night time driving on the flightline for familiarization of the safety and operational guidelines.

“We try to manage through education. There are about 300 units on this base that we provide airfield driving training for, said Ellis.” It’s a big task to make sure people are doing what they are supposed to be doing and 99 percent of the time, they do.”

Aircraft do not move on Bagram without the approval of airfield management and operations. Bagram’s ability to maintain air operations is attributed to the airfield management team’s sustainment of a safe airfield.

When asked what makes him most proud of the work he does, Ellis simply said…

“It contributes to the mission in the fight against terror. It still feels good to support that.”