Expeditionary Center's 422nd JTS hosts airfield operations TTP conference
by By Tech. Sgt. Zachary Wilson
U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs
5/12/2011 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. (AFNS) -- Nearly 20 airfield operations and air traffic control subject-matter experts met with 422nd Joint Tactics Squadron members here recenly during a planning conference to develop a product consolidating tactics, techniques and procedures for Airmen operating worldwide.
According to some of the Airmen in attendance, representing nearly every Air Force major command, the event met a need to provide a single document airfield operations Airmen can refer to when a question comes up while serving in an expeditionary environment.
"We are filling in the gaps in airfield operations information sources out there," said Capt. Lee Sims, the product's model manager and the chief of deployed airfield operations for Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. "Our planners know about the information out there and where to find it, but our people who are on the ground don't; this is why we are here."
Captain Sims used a personal example from a recent deployment to Southwest Asia to illustrate the need for this conference.
"While I was deployed, the (installation) transitioned to a new air traffic control tower," he said. "We obviously could not shutdown the airfield during this time, but I knew we have mobile ATC towers in the Air Force. It is basically a Humvee with all the equipment needed to control air traffic. However, I needed to find out how I could get one sent to my location, and it took me an entire week of effort to get this done."
The captain noted if he had access to a product similar to what his team is creating now, he would have been able to get the mobile tower system much quicker and save time coordinating.
The event also provided an opportunity for Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center's newest unit, the 422nd JTS, to demonstrate their unique capabilities and mission and why it was created in March 2010, conference officials said.
The 422nd JTS mission is to gather, refine, disseminate, and be the repository for expeditionary combat support lessons learned and tactics, techniques and procedures for expeditionary ground forces.
It can provide all the resources and a venue to get the airfield operations community together, said Tech. Sgt. Jason Marsh, assigned to the 422nd JTS.
"We work with communities like this one during these conferences side-by-side," he said. "They are obviously the experts at what they do, but we can facilitate, gather information and route the information to the people who need it. Our squadron is a major player in helping deployed Airmen get information they need in a single location."
Chief Master Sgt. Michael Baker, representing the Headquarters Air Force Flight Standards Agency in Oklahoma City, Okla., noted "we're always looking for ways to increase efficiency; once completed, this TTP will provide a consolidated reference for airfield operations personnel to more effectively train and prepare for our wartime mission."
Captain Sims said the real value would be felt immediately, as he calls the product a "time-saving and educational tool with visual aids."
"We are now sending Airmen to do things that staff and technical sergeants were sent to do in the past," he said. "This product will have an immediate impact for them."
The product is expected to take six to eight months to complete once it has been finished and routed through all the officials in the air operations community who need to approve it, he said. Once disseminated to the field, with the help of the 422nd JTS, the product can be reviewed annually with changes made to it as needed.
"The world is always changing, and we need to be ready to adapt," Captain Sims said. "This will definitely be more of a 'living document.'"
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