An Airman from the 86th Airlift Wing Safety Office was selected as Airlifter of the Week Jan. 5 for his work as a weapons safety manager for the base.
Tech. Sgt. Tommy Espinosa, 86 AW weapons safety manager, is responsible for providing risk assessment, interpreting explosives safety regulations and inspecting workcenters.
Espinosa’s experience came into play when a combat-loaded aircraft had to divert to Ramstein after an emergency. He provided analysis allowing leadership to make appropriate decisions regarding the safest way to handle the aircraft.
“When we have time to plan we can build big things like giant site plans and tell you every single risk,” Espinosa said. “But this aircraft had to do an emergency divert and they weren’t able to use some of the things we laid out in the operating instruction. We had to do a quick analysis because it wasn’t a perfect scenario and we had to make the best decision possible.”
The risk assessment Espinosa provides is rooted in hundreds of pages of Air Force and NATO instructions.
“Every unit is different, but we’re trying to apply the same explosive safety standards to everybody,” Espinosa said. “I think the important part is getting with the units and seeing what they do because guidelines get applied differently in the munitions storage area versus how they’re applied to paratroopers for example. In the case of the diverted aircraft, we handle combat aircraft differently than explosive cargo aircraft.”
Because of the variety in units that work with explosives, Espinosa said he prefers to gain an understanding of their mission to better know how to apply those regulations.
Espinoza says it’s a big change from former roles working behind-the-scenes.
“This lets me out [to] interact with the other agencies and see how explosives and safety affects their mission. I like learning about the other fields or specialties that interact with that potential hazard.”
Espinosa’s time at Ramstein is coming to a close. He was recently selected to become an instructor at the Air Force Weapons Safety School at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where he’ll train the next generation of weapons safety personnel.