|Story & Photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
If the Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport found its operations interrupted by
extreme weather or other circumstances, an airfield operations unit,
such as the 1st, 107th Airfield Operations Battalion, might provide
Members of the 1st, 107th, an Army National Guard unit from Smyrna,
Tenn., trained at Fort McCoy May 31-June 10 in all phases of the unit’s
operation, said Staff Sgt. Ashley Arnold. Arnold is the battalion
training noncommissioned officer and the Air Traffic Navigation,
Integration and Coordination System facility chief.
Members of the 1st, 107th
Airfield Operations Battalion, train on establishing tactical
airfield operations at Fort McCoy.
“We can roll into a location and have everything we need (for
airfield operations) up and running in three hours,” Arnold said. “If we
needed other assets to help us, we would call them in.”
The unit can provide assistance during natural disasters or in a
contingency or combat area, as needed, she said. Unit members have
supported operations after Hurricane Katrina and have been deployed to
support Operation Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom.
During their two weeks of training at Fort McCoy, unit members also
accomplished weapons qualifications and other required military tasks,
trained in an unfamiliar location and learned their jobs or became more
proficient in their jobs, Arnold said.
Sgt. Jon Braden of the tactical tower/control system section of the 1st,
107th said section personnel could work in either a fixed-base or a
“Putting up and running the tactical tower (equipment) is cross-training
for those who work in the fixed-base tower,” Braden said. “We have
mobility with the setup, and can communicate with aircraft as we’re
moving down the road. We can have everything in our area set up in 30
James Hubbard, Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport manager, said the 1st, 107th or
a similar unit potentially could be an important support asset for
Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport military operations.
“In the case of a snowstorm or some other inclement weather or natural
disaster event, they could provide the emergency relief we need to
continue military operations,” Hubbard said. “If we had a mobilization
mission at the airport, the unit members also potentially could provide
the support (and manpower) we need to successfully help accomplish that