50 graduate Fatima Girls High School

Tabasum Sharqi (left) opens a book she received for graduating at the top of her Fatima Girls High School class at a ceremony held at the Kunar Department of Women’s (click for more)

Polish and US Forces bond through weapons

Soldiers from the Polish Army and the Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team-IV check their shot grouping during qualification on the Polish AK-74 5.56 mm Mini-Beryl short assault rifle Feb. (click for more)

TF Duke Soldiers volley for peace

U.S. Army Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, play an impromptu game of volleyball against a team (click for more)

Nurgaram District leaders electrify Nangaresh schools

Dr. Mehirulla Muslim, the Nurgaram District subgovernor, addresses an audience of teachers, government officials and citizens during a ceremony to celebrate a completed solar panel electricity project Feb. 21 in (click for more)

10th CAB Soldiers bring communications to Bagram’s east side

U.S. Army Spc. Raheem Stewart, an automations specialist with TF Phoenix, steps along the rafters of the building his team helped wire for communications. Stewart, from Dallas, was one of (click for more)

ANA, Red Bulls search Parwai during Operation Brass Monkey

An Afghan National Army soldier from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Regiment, searches a pile of rocks in the courtyard of a high-value target home outside the village of (click for more)

Female engagement teams trained to aid communication with Afghan women

U.S. Army Capt. Nicole Zupka of Fair Lawn, N.J., a battlewatch captain with Combined Joint Task Force-Paladin, helps an Afghan child with her writing skills during female engagement team training (click for more)

ANA, TF Storm break trail, make difference in Kharwar

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers move through Kharwar District to prevent the Taliban’s freedom of movement Feb. 12. U.S. and Afghan soldiers braved more than 3 feet (click for more)

Ky. ADT II begins Panjshir sheep parasite project

Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II members, U.S. Army Spc. Justin Allen (left), a London, Ky., native, and U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas Combs, a Corbin, Ky., native, get to know a (click for more)

Engineer Soldiers deliver aid to Afghans

An Afghan carrying a child approaches U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Peter Moeller of Atkins, Iowa, a medic with Task Force Red Bulls, for humanitarian aid at Qale-Mussa Pain Middle School (click for more)

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LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. David M. Divine, a shift leader of the Forward Operating Base Shank air traffic control tower, assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain division, Task Force Knighthawk guides an approaching aircraft here, April 26. Kalamazoo, Mich. native Divine said he is proud to be helping the people of Afghanistan by coordinating medical evacuation aircraft that provide life-saving services to coalition and Afghan forces. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Cooper T. Cash, 210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Task Force Patriot)LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Atop stacked shipping containers, radio chatter reverberated in a glass-enclosed room. The air traffic control operator gave instructions through a black handheld microphone. Then, over the metallic speakers, a pilot acknowledged and began his descent into Forward Operating Base Shank, April 26.


Soldiers assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Knighthawk provide safe, orderly and expeditious control of air traffic as they cross the airspace of FOB Shank, said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. William E. Haddon, Fox Company’s first sergeant from Lancaster, Pa.

When the unit arrived in theater, there was no radar system in place, which presented problems for aircraft crews. Their first two months in theater, Fox Company Soldiers worked feverishly to diagnose and repair the existing, but non-operational, radar system, said U.S. Army Sgt. Brandon K. Parnell, the senior air traffic control equipment repairer and Lexington Park, Md. native.

“In the past medevacs have been a little hesitant to go out when the weather was bad, because they worried about getting back to Shank safely,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Brandon D. Woodson, an air traffic control operator. “Now if the weather is a little iffy, they don’t have to worry about getting back with their casualty, because we are going to be able to talk to them and control them down safely since out radar is working perfectly.”

Every Soldier focuses on the three basic skills of shooting, moving and communicating, but air traffic controllers are especially focused on one.

 “Communication is a must. If we are not communicating well, we could be trying to land an aircraft while the radar team is trying to land another,” said Atlanta native Woodson. “Effective communication is essential for our overall goal of the safe operation of aircraft.”

Woodson said pilots need precision and expedient guidance to navigate through airspace to stay a safe distance from other aircraft and to manage their fuel. This is especially true when operating where aircraft converge, as they do near airports. To provide this assistance, air traffic controllers are constantly mapping out and keeping track of planes in the area.

“It’s very challenging; you have to be able to think on your feet,” said Woodson. “Situations have arisen where a decision has to made in a second, and it can affect the lives of people in the air.”

Civilian contractors have taken over most of the ATC operations throughout Afghanistan, but Fox Company’s first sergeant said his Soldiers bring something else to the table.

“We are the only military air traffic services in (Regional Command) -East; and having knowledge of the military’s (Air Weapons Teams) and medevacs, and knowing how important they are to support the ground war fighter, gives us an advantage,” said Haddon. “Our Soldiers are disciplined, and although our guys don’t make as much money as the civilians, they are proud of what they do.”

Parnell said success is achieved when people do not know you are doing your job.

“We live by the Ordnance Corps creed; we are the men behind the man behind the gun. We are the people unseen,” said Parnell.

 LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. David M. Divine, a shift leader of the Forward Operating Base Shank air traffic control tower, assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain division, Task Force Knighthawk guides an approaching aircraft here, April 26. Kalamazoo, Mich. native Divine said he is proud to be helping the people of Afghanistan by coordinating medical evacuation aircraft that provide life-saving services to coalition and Afghan forces. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Cooper T. Cash, 210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Task Force Patriot)

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers assigned to Fox Company F, 2nd Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain division, Task Force Knighthawk guide a plane to land at Forward Operating Base Shank, April 26. Fox Company’s air traffic controllers now have the ability to guide aircraft in during low visibility using their radar equipment. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Cooper T. Cash, 210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Task Force Patriot)

Last Updated on Monday, 02 May 2011 22:08
 

    

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