Lights out, gears up … Airfield comes alive at night

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kenneth W. Norman
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
When the sun sets most folks are settling down with their families, eating dinner or relaxing while watching their favorite television show, but for others it is time to work.

We don't just forge combat mobility forces during the day at Altus AFB. The flight line and airspace continue to thrive even under the cover of darkness.

I recently had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the hard work that makes night operations on the airfield possible. It was great getting to see various squadrons work together to accomplish the mission.

Aircrews and their students receive vital training using Night Vision Goggles during night flights. To support them, air traffic controllers and radar approach and control Airmen from the 97th Operations Support Squadron choreograph the airfield movements. Also, Airmen from 97th OSS airfield management inspect the runways and aircrew flight equipment ensures essential equipment, such as oxygen masks, are in proper working order on the aircraft.

Defenders from the 97th Security Forces Squadron patrol the flight line all night ensuring the safety of all base members working the night shift as well as protecting millions of dollars worth of aircraft and equipment.

In order for the flying mission to take place, planes must be in proper working order. That is where the 97th Maintenance Directorate comes into play. The 97th MX works around the clock to ensure that all aircraft are fully functioning and mission ready.

Other elements of night operations on the flightline are transportation and cargo loading and unloading, which is taken care of by the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

The opportunity to experience a piece of each squadron's vital role in our base mission connected the dots for me. Watching Airmen from different squadrons and flights work together to accomplish our mission throughout the night showed me why we are the greatest Air Force in the world.