The 86th Operational Support Squadron air traffic control facility was recently awarded the D. Ray Hardin Air Traffic Control Facility of the Year covering the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012.
The mission of an air traffic controller is to provide safe and expeditious air traffic flow by separating aircraft, issuing safety alerts and giving pilots a clear and precise picture of what is in the airspace near them.
They delivered 244,000 passengers and 64,000 tons of cargo, and enabled more than 24,000 training sorties.
The U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa’s “Gateway to Europe” was unhindered and mishap free the entire year during 42 construction projects on the airfield.
“This is truly a testament of the level of controllers here,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kathleen Carter, 86th OSS control tower chief controller. “There is not one accomplishment listed for the tower that was the result of a sole contributor. Everyone did their part and did it well. I am very proud that they have received such high accolades to recognize their hard work and commitment to the mission.”
This prestigious award is given to ATC facilities that make notable contributions to the quality, safety, emergency situations, deployments or exercises and sustained efficiency in air traffic control as recognized by users of the service.
“The range of operations that Ramstein’s ATC facility handled throughout the year included hosting more than 50 distinguished visitor tours and controlling a historic 10-ship formation flight that delivered 929 Army airborne troops,” said Master Sgt. Eric Briggs, 86th OSS tower assistant chief controller. “It also involved the special handling of more than 1,000 medical evacuation flights, which moved approximately 9,000 wounded service personnel, and the safe recovery of more than 100 aircraft emergencies.”
Briggs said the ATC facility operations change daily and the controllers’ dedication to duty and desire to adapt to an ever evolving mission and airfield is what allows 86th OSS to succeed.
“To be honest, the air traffic control flight was not the only contributor,” Briggs said. “We could not have completed our mission without the support of the entire 86th OSS and, more importantly, the 86th Airlift Wing.”