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    424th Air Base Squadron Conducts "Landing Zone" Training

    424th Air Base Squadron Conducts "Landing Zone" Training

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Brycen Guerrero | Tech. Sgt. Richard Poynter (left), the Deputy Air Field Manager assigned to the 424th...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Brycen Guerrero 

    AFN Benelux

    CHIÈVRES AIR BASE, Belgium – Aircraft don’t always have the luxury of smooth, paved runways—especially on overseas missions where pilots often have to make due with rough “landing zones” on natural ground.
    Safely simulating such conditions is crucial training for air crew and ground forces alike. Airmen at the 424th Air Base Squadron assigned to Chièvres Air Base, Belgium provide the environment for the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany to routinely train pattern work and assault approaches in their C-130J Hercules aircraft. “Charlie Landing Zone” is a stretch of decommissioned taxiway, partially overgrown by vegetation, which serves as an ideal landing zone for training.
    “It was nerve wracking to see it used for the first time,” said Tech. Sgt. Richard Poynter, the 424th ABS Deputy Airfield Manager and qualified Landing Zone Safety Officer. “But it held!”
    When other LZ locations in Europe became less reliable in 2018, the 424th ABS stepped up to ensure the 86th Airlift Wing and NATO partners could maintain their skills by assessing the decommissioned taxiway and embarking on a training program to certify squadron members for LZ operations. This training exposes 424th Airmen to the kinds of responsibilities they face when deployed.
    “Before, we mostly dealt with the [Supreme Allied Commander Europe]’s jet. Having C-130s and other aircraft visit our base is great, especially for some of the newer Airmen who haven’t been to a ‘regular’ Air Force base yet,” Poynter said.
    For some service members at the squadron, Chièvres Air Base is a first duty assignment. Having such a tightly focused primary mission might have been an issue in the past, but with the expansion in aviation activity, Airmen of all ranks get to experience an array of operational scenarios.
    “Although we’re a small squadron, we cover a lot of different specialties. When you get to see that ‘machine’ come alive and each person execute their piece of the mission so well, it feels awesome to be part of the team,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Charles Yates, the Chief Air Traffic Controller at the 424th. “It really helps you feel more closely tied to the mission downrange when you see the type of tactical training that is performed at Chièvres.”
    When it comes to supporting the increasing number of Landing Zone missions throughout the Benelux and beyond, all one has to know is their motto: “Always Ready.”



    Date Taken: 08.27.2019
    Date Posted: 09.05.2019 08:44
    Story ID: 338280
    Location: BE

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