Kadena air traffic controllers keep eyes on sky
18th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 28, 2016
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --
Air traffic controllers have the extremely demanding task of clearing the path for pilots of multiple airframes; being their eyes on the ground as the pilots keep their eyes on the sky.
The 18th Operations Support Squadron air traffic controllers provide quality air traffic services for Kadena.
“Here at Kadena Air Base, we provide air traffic services for multiple airframes in all branches of service,” said Staff Sgt. Dennis Beasley, 18th OSS air traffic controller. “We work with many different facilities around the island, including Naha center, Naha approach control, and Futenma Air Base. We also work with many facilities around the base, including airfield management, command post, and transient alert.”
Providing air traffic services for the island of Okinawa requires teamwork. Air traffic controllers need to work with one another to keep the runway processes operating smoothly.
“Without us, they’re not getting off the ground, so I think we’re very vital in providing peace in the Pacific,” said Beasley. “If any conflict were to arise, I’m very confident in the people I work with that we would be able to stay calm and provide fast and efficient air traffic services for the aircraft that need to get out of here, to provide our mission in the Pacific.”
Although the work is challenging and requires constant training, it comes with its own set of rewards.
“Here on Kadena, we deal with multiple aircraft, multiple airframes, and it’s a pretty difficult airspace around here,” said Senior Airman Edgar Figueroa, 18th OSS air traffic controller. “This is one of the most important jobs in the military. It can get pretty complex and high-paced here. We’re always training; you’re never proficient enough, you can always learn more. I love it, I love everything we do.”
All of the training and learning which occurs on the job pays off in the end when an F-15 flies by and the feeling of satisfaction sets in.
“It’s very rewarding to see the F-15s fly by,” said Beasley. “It makes you really appreciate the job. It makes you feel like a part of the mission; you’re helping the planes get up in the air. When you hear that they’re going TDY somewhere, you’re the one making it happen; you’re the one getting them there; they wouldn’t leave this air base without you, so it’s very rewarding to see them fly off.”