DVIDS – News – Eielson security office stays ahead during Red Flag 21-3


EIELSON AIR BASE, Alaska – As philosopher The Notorious BIG wrote, “Mo ‘money, mo’ problems.”
But what if instead of money, it was a flight line filled with fifth-generation US Air Force fighter jets? Enter the security office at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
“During RED FLAG-Alaska, the tempo of Eielson’s operations changes from drizzle to downpour,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Smith, 354 Fighter Wing Flight Safety NCO. “With more planes taking off, the margin for plane crashes widens, so the already important work we do to mitigate risk becomes all the more vital as aerodrome operations increase. “
While there may never be a comprehensive antidote to plane crashes, experts from the Safety Office, currently plagued by the 210 daily take-offs that is RED FLAG-Alaska 21-3, can to have a balm in the event of future aviation mishaps: the technological magic of the safety measures of the fifth generation fighter planes.
“Where fourth generation fighter jets would require us to download individual flight parameters to diagnose safety issues, fifth generation aircraft automatically give us access to full flight operations, specific actions taken by the pilot to more precise measurements like the amount of oxygen inhaled by pilots, down to the millisecond, ”said Master Sgt. Randall Vander Woude, 354th Flight Safety NCO FW. “This serves to take the guesswork out of finding the root causes of security issues and mitigating them in the future. “
When a plane takes off, it’s really a matter of life and death, so the time it takes to diagnose a potential safety issue before that same plane takes off can be crucial to the safety of airline personnel. Air Force, said Vander Woude.
While the safety of planes and pilots is a primary concern during RF-A, which sees an array of fighter jets from the U.S. Air Force’s inventory engage in simulated air combat, another source d worry during exercise is right next to the track.
“Have any maintainer take their blanket off and you’re pretty sure to see a few cuts and scratches on your head,” Smith said. “Working in the kind of environments our maintenance managers do, it’s common to have some head injuries. “
Smith, who before joining the security office was a maintenance worker himself, knows all too well the dangers of working in the kind of confined spaces that often become dangerous without proper safety measures.
“I try to keep my hair thick enough to cover some of my scars,” he said with a laugh. “But luckily, because of the people who come forward with these kinds of injuries, the Air Force has been able to step back and find ways to keep our maintenance workers safe.”
The solution? Shockproof caps. The thin plastic shells are designed to fit inside a maintainer’s baseball-style tactical cap and, according to Smith, have been proven to reduce the type of injuries the security office faces. used to face.
“When a maintainer is injured it can become a personnel issue,” he said. “Not only that, but injuries can add up to a hefty bill for the Air Force to pay. Bump caps are an inexpensive solution to a common problem and in some cases costly for the Air Force.
For Smith and Vander Woude, what the new security measures have in common is their origins, an effect of Airmen proposing solutions to the problems they face.
“There’s often this idea that reporting a safety concern is going to mean a mountain of paperwork to fill out,” Smith said. “But in reality, it’s a painless process that can help change your store and maybe even the Air Force as a whole for the better. Much of our own security is in our hands. We simply cannot be afraid to be proactive and speak up.
Red Flag-Alaska 21-3 ends August 27, 2021.

Date taken: 08/24/2021
Date posted: 08/24.2021 19:07
Story ID: 403844
Site: EIELSON AFB, AK, United States

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