Nighttime ops ensure Combat Airlift never stops

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

It takes more than leaving the light on to sustain Combat Airlift.

Air Mobility Command's mission is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Although it takes multiple units, three main players of the Black Knight's mission around-the-clock are the 19th Security Forces Squadron to secure the base, the 19th Operations Support Squadron Airfield Management flight to keep the flightline running, and the 19th Maintenance Squadron Repair and Reclamation Section to ensure aircraft continue to fly.

19th Security Forces Squadron

Personnel are met by 19th SFS Defenders who operate all entry and exit points, armed and ready to respond to threats even at the darkest hour.

The 19th SFS mission is to provide defense to enable Combat Airlift operations. This is no different when the sun sets.

"Nighttime operations conducted by the 19th SFS are critical for the 19th Airlift Wing and its smaller agencies," said Phillip Bates, 19th SFS Operations Section police services officer. "The majority of service members are at home during these hours. Our Defenders are tasked with the protection of military assets from any and all criminal activities, which would ultimately go unchecked if not for these brave men and women on call, whenever, wherever to ensure our populace sleeps easy at night."

19th OSS Airfield Management

Airfield management has a multitude of missions with the sole purpose of maintaining a safe airfield environment.

Airmen conduct airfield checks regularly by scanning the flightline with a spotlight mounted on a truck, looking for anything that could damage an aircraft such as potholes, foreign objects and debris. The team and multiple bases agencies work together toward a solution after the issue is identified.

Nighttime brings two new obstacles to the flightline: nocturnal wildlife and diminished lighting. The airfield management team works with different units to stop pests before they interfere with operations, and monitors the lighting on the airfield to keep it adequately illuminated.

"The mission doesn't only occur during the day," said Senior Airman Joseph Way, 19th OSS Airfield Management shift lead. "It's our responsibility to oversee and maintain an airfield which supports 24-hour operations."

19th MXS Repair and Reclamation section

Airmen from the 19th MXS Repair and Reclamation section are on call at a moment's notice to quickly repair major aircraft components so aircrew can return to the fight.

"Our job is ensuring aircraft are 100 percent mission capable at any time," said Staff Sgt. Craig Carrillo, 19th MXS Aircraft Repair and Reclamation Section supervisor. "We help ensure the crew is safe and the mission is successful by performing needed repairs as soon as possible."

Whether under the orange glow of flightline lights or the warmth of the day sun, Airmen specialize in repairing landing gear, flight controls and other major components. The repair and reclamation crew is also the crash recovery team, capable of retrieving a downed aircraft.

"You really can't pick apart day shift from night shift," Carrillo said. "Our job often takes several hours to do, and the remaining work rolls into the next shift. Regardless of which one you're on, the work will be done."

Although the time is different, the mission is the same between night and day shifts.

"It takes more than one shop or an eight-hour day for our mission to succeed," said Chief Master Sgt. David Morse, 19th AW Command Chief. "It requires Airmen meticulously working together around the clock to provide the readiness that Global Deterrence and Combat Airlift demand."