Selfridge Named ANG Airfield Complex of the Year

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Selfridge Air National Guard Base has been named the Airfield Flight Operations Complex of the Year by the Air National Guard.

The award recognizes exemplary performance in air traffic control, air traffic control maintenance and airfield management. By being named the complex of the year by the Air National Guard, Selfridge is now under consideration for an Air Force-wide award for airfield operations.

"This is the first time that Selfridge has ever won this award and I think it reflects the fact that we have really adopted a one team, one fight attitude, across the airfield," said Mark Winsor, air traffic manager at Selfridge. "People rolled up their sleeves and made this happen."

Airfield operations at Selfridge underwent a major systems evaluation last September in which the base received high marks from the visiting inspection team. With that accolade in hand, airfield managers decided to submit a package for consideration for the complex of the year award.

"As the host unit at a base that serves so many different agencies and so many different missions, it is critical that we provide the highest possible level of air traffic control and airfield management services," said Brig. Gen. Michael Peplinski, 127th Wing commander. "The men and women working in these shops have really stepped up in the last year or so to make this award possible."

The award comes shortly after a number of major changes in operations at Selfridge, notably the arrival of a variety of Dept. of Homeland Security aircraft flown by the Customs & Border Protection agency and the 127th Wing's transition away from flying C-130s and F-16s to flying KC-135s and A-10s. Winsor said that the presence of the DHS aircraft and the shift to F-16s has resulted in a slight boost in the traffic count at Selfridge. The Selfridge field handled about 16,350 aircraft operations in the four quarter of 2010, including aircraft departures, arrivals and aircraft that flu through air space controlled by the Selfridge tower.

With so much aircraft activity on the base, there is an acute need to keep numerous departments and shops across the base in the loop on what's happening on the airfield. Shops ranging from Security Forces to the Command Post and numerous others are able to tap into the Air Force Aviation System (AFAS) maintained by the Airfield Management shop to be able to know what is happening on the airfield when they need to know it.

"Our AFAS is considered to be the flagship system in the entire Air Force," said Senior Master Sgt. Kelli Martin, airfield manager. "We've done more to integrate more people who need information into our system than anywhere else in the Air Force. It provides instant data to those who need it, when they need it."

Martin said the airfield management shop has also been noted for its work updating and maintaining a database of all personnel who are authorized to drive government vehicles on the base flight line. Selfridge is one of two locations in the Air Force being used as a test site for a new drivers management system.

"Technical Sgt. Kathy Fuller re-wrote our driving program as a result of the different aircraft on the base and the change in where they are parked," Martin said. "With all of the different agencies out here and all of our traditional Guard members, we maintain a database of approximately 800 drivers."

The change in traffic patterns and aircraft parking areas on the airfield also required changes in vehicle traffic and new lanes and related markers being painted on the airfield.

Martin said some new equipment has also been installed around the airfield as a result of the different types of aircraft.

About 45 people work in the three departments directly related to the award, representing a mix of civilian employees, contractors and military personnel.

"I think team work is really what brought this award to Selfridge. Working together as a team strengthens anything you do," Winsor said.