Success in the sky starts with safety on the ground

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ricardo Sandoval
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The aircraft that take off from the flightline at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, are maintained by crew chiefs and flown by pilots, but it is the Airmen monitoring the airfield who ensure safe landings and takeoffs for the aircraft.

The Airmen assigned to the 354th Operations Support Squadron Airfield Management Operations section oversee the airfield. They file flight plans and coordinate flying operations while inspecting the airfield for any deformations or cracks in the pavement.

In order to perform their job to the best of their abilities, AMOPS Airmen must work with other units and agencies outside of the Air Force.

“We work in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture to determine the best course of action year round, on how to mitigate wildlife activity on the airfield,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Cisneros, 354th OSS AMOPS noncommissioned officer in charge. “If there is any maintenance required for the airfield, we coordinate with the responsible agencies to get them fixed.”

In addition to mitigating wildlife activity, AMOPS is responsible for keeping track of drivers on the airfield, checking for paint discrepancies, and checking the airfield lights to make sure they are working properly.

Their mission is essential year round but during the winter, as conditions become more hazardous and the airfield needs more maintenance, AMOPS becomes critical at Eielson.

“In the winter, we focus on runway condition readings,” said Airman 1st Class Alexandra Hammerbeck, 354th OSS AMPOS shift lead. “And making sure it’s safe enough for flying.”

This past year, Eielson saw record breaking snowfall and a build up of ice on the flightline. AMOPS played an integral role in ensuring the installation’s mission continued.

“Airfield Management’s ultimate goal is to ensure the safety of all personnel and equipment on the airfield,” said Cisneros. “Come sunshine, rain, or snow, we’re ready to go at 50 below.”