JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- With an estimated 25,000 personnel participating in the world's largest international maritime exercise this summer, the 15th Operational Support Squadron (OSS) Airfield Management Flight’s workload surged.
The 15th OSS Airfield Management Flight provides 24-hour operational support to all the aircraft assigned here and transient military aircraft, enabling more than 6,000 flights quarterly.
“We have a hand in every mission set that comes out of [Hickam airfield], whether local, transient, distinguished visitors, or in this case RIMPAC, a major flying exercise,” said Tech. Sgt. Andrei Albiar, 15th OSS airfield deputy airfield manager.
The start of RIMPAC increased the amount of aircraft, aircrew, parking plans and essential services that are necessary for an operational airfield.
“We have 68 parking spots on Hickam,” said Tech. Sgt. Samantha Vining, 15th OSS airfield manager. “We’ve supported 17 of those for a month and a half with RIMPAC aircraft.”
Vining and Albiar described the challenges that the team worked to overcome with the additional RIMPAC aircraft while continuing everyday operations, which can include transient aircraft, Air Mobility Command missions, mail delivery, commissary stock deliveries and Base Exchange deliveries.
“This showed them what a deployment can look like with the amount of flight plans we were filing,” said Vining. “We didn’t only file for aircraft here at Hickam to take off; we were also filing flight plans for all the aircraft taking off from the [naval aircraft] carriers.”
Even with increased hours, the airfield management flight continues to provide 24-hour support for all participating aircraft until the exercise ends on Aug. 4, 2022.
“We had to adjust everybody’s schedule,” said Vining. “Nobody batted an eye or made one complaint. Every mission we’ve had has gone off without a hitch.”