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    2-111th Aviation Regiment take over Fernandina Beach

    FERNANDINA BEACH, FL, UNITED STATES

    03.10.2019

    Story by Pfc. Arcadia Jackson 

    107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Air traffic controllers of the Florida National Guard 2nd Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment (Airfield Operations Battalion), from Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Florida, took over the airfield at Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport in Fernandina Beach, Florida, as part of a training operation that occurred from March 5-10.

    Every year in March, the surrounding community holds a car show/auction that results in more air traffic. The typically unmanned airport of Fernandina Beach requires extra air traffic control support during this time, and that is what the Guard is here for.

    Soldiers of the Florida National Guard received the opportunity to train in a real-world environment with flying aircraft, while keeping the community safe.

    “I came out of the schoolhouse not too long ago, and I have been hearing about this mission,” said Florida National Guard Pfc. Christian Ramos, an air traffic controller from the 2nd Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment, from Camp Blanding Joint Training Center. “I heard so many stories about it and thought it would be really cool to go, and I really love this job.”

    Ramos is one of the trainees of this operation. His mentor, Florida National Guard Warrant Officer Charles Smith, an air traffic and air space management technician and platoon leader with the 2nd Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment, stood with him throughout the duration of the operation.

    “Our job here is to reinforce his knowledge base to train him, so he is confident on the job and is at his best ability at all jobs,” said Smith. “It gets them custom to talking on the microphone with real world pilots and real world situations. It’s invaluable as a training tool.”

    The training operation began four years ago in Fernandina Beach when a member of the Florida National Guard noticed the problems that were arising during this time of the community car show/auction.

    “I started this because it was an excellent training opportunity, more often than not, these controllers do not get as many training opportunities available to them because they require aircraft flying,” said Florida National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Holly Denny, an air traffic controller from the 2nd Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment. “Since I work at Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center, this every year was an extremely unsafe operation because there are so many planes in and out, there were a lot of opposite direction issues, runway incursions and more, causing a lot of problems.

    With working at the approach control and hearing about it, and also being here on the Guard side thinking ‘Hey, we’re trying to find training opportunities,’ I voiced my opinion to the leadership. It took me a couple years of convincing and coordinating, and now we’re here.”

    The creation of this operation has benefitted all: from keeping the civilians of Fernandina Beach safe to allowing Soldiers the opportunity to train.

    “It’s been very huge for us,” Smith said. “When it’s time for us to go on real world mission, we will have the ability to execute them flawlessly.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 03.10.2019
    Date Posted: 06.03.2019 15:10
    Story ID: 313720
    Location: FERNANDINA BEACH, FL, US 

    Web Views: 23
    Downloads: 0
    Podcast Hits: 0

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