Martin Wins ANG Airfield Manager Award

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Aircraft coming and going, construction scheduling, anti-terrorism concerns - even the flight patterns of birds. As a military airfield operator, you need to have a handle on all those things and more. But for Senior Master Sgt. Kelli Martin, what really matters is working with the people who make all those things happen.

Martin, who has been the airfield manager at Selfridge Air National Guard Base since 2009, was recently named the airfield manager of the year by the Air National Guard. The previous two years, Martin was part of a team of Selfridge personnel who won the airfield complex of the year award. As the airfield manager at the busiest Air National Guard-operated airfield complex in the nation, Martin oversees a wide variety of support operations for Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and KC-135 Stratotankers, Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphins, Army CH-47 Chinooks, and five different types of small fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft operated by the Dept. of Homeland Security, all of which are assigned to the base; as well as any visiting aircraft.

"SMSgt. Martin has repeatedly been honored by the Air National Guard for her professionalism and the quality of her work," said Lt. Col. Bill Hargrove, 127th Operations Support Flight commander and an A-10 pilot at the base. "These awards from higher agencies merely confirm what those of us who work with her on a daily basis already know. SMSgt Martin not only has the technical knowledge needed to perform her job, but she also possesses the leadership skills that it really takes to coordinate the so many moving pieces necessary to smoothly operate a military air field."

Martin said of her many tasks in coordinating airfield operations, none is more important or moving as those times when Selfridge has been part of the return of a deceased service member who gave their life in service of the nation.

"I feel honored to work with the family members of those who were killed in action. This past year, we had several Soldiers and Marines flown in during a relatively close period, which was very sad," Martin said. "But it was wonderful to witness the base support each time. Many base personnel paid their last respects to the member and families as the hearse traveled by. I can only hope that the families were as touched as I was."

Daily operations for the airfield manager includes interacting with Security Forces personnel; the base Civil Engineer Squadron on a myriad of issues from construction projects along the flight line to snow removal; coordinating operations with the wing safety, fire department and command post sections; and working with various groups of take action to reduce the danger of bird strikes around the air field.

"I get to know a lot of people on the base and to be a part of the bigger picture," Martin said.

As with many Air Force occupations, being a good air field manager involves being able to multi-task, putting in extra time to learn regulations and related information and, perhaps most importantly, being a team player.

"I also think you need to be tenacious and always make sure you get the attention that a project deserves," Martin said. "The airfield is all about safety of flight and I take that very serious. I want to make sure that I can do everything to ensure we have the safest airfield as possible."