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    California National Guard Air Operations Becoming National Model



    Story by 2nd Lt. Jason Sanchez 

    144th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- During a break in the heavy February rains across the state, California State Military Reserve (CSMR) Army Staff Sgt. Derek Kantar presented how his group is conducting and tracking air operations to officials from the Sacramento International Airport, Feb. 19.

    Kantar is part of the Air Coordination Mission Support Team with the State Headquarters, J3 office. It’s their job to de-conflict emergency aircraft, flights and air space between the different state agencies in the event of an emergency.

    “Basically we make sure no one runs into each other and there’s aircraft available when it’s needed,” Kantar said.

    Sacramento International Airport Operations Officer, Reid Smith and Operations Manager Bonnie Hankins, listened intently as Kantar explained the program and answered their questions, joking about his use of mounted butcher paper and white boards with the airport officials.

    “While these techniques are not high tech, we use a great deal of technical information and systems to coordinate our efforts,” said Kantar. “If the commander were to walk into this office and ask about the number of air assets, I can instantly give him accurate information. A picture says 1000 words; this is my picture.”

    This group has been working in an ad hoc status under the direction of CSMR Air Operations Commander, Col. Vic Teal and California National Guard Operations Commander, Col. David Hawkin for the past three years. Plans are being formalized to make it an official piece of the state mission.

    This need was first voiced by Air National Guard Lt. Col. Tom Keegan, Air Division Chief of Plans, after Hurricane Katrina. During those emergency operations, multiple aircraft from different agencies sometimes responded to the same emergency calls, causing congestion of air space, safety concerns, and the unnecessary deployment of air assets.

    “By standing up and staffing the Air Coordination Group with our civilian partners, we ensure the most effective and efficient aviation operations during emergency response operations,” said Keegan. “The key is having interagency partners bringing their specific expertise to collectively make the most informed decisions.”

    The unique model in California is quickly becoming the model nationwide for other military units and major civilian agencies.

    Over the last few years, the California National Guard Air Operations group has been activated for quick and effective coordination of emergency response to fires in California.

    The Air Operations Group is currently coordinating with the Sacramento International Airport to conduct a future training exercise involving both military and airport personnel. In that training exercise the scenario will include a military aircraft and a civilian aircraft.



    Date Taken: 02.22.2017
    Date Posted: 02.22.2017 18:56
    Story ID: 224363
    Location: SACRAMENTO, CA, US 

    Web Views: 241
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    California National Guard Air Operations Becoming National Model