It takes a team to run an airfield

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Gayle Feist
  • 52nd Operations Support Squadron
The 52nd Operations Support Squadron supports NATO, U.S. commanders and combatant command authorities by maintaining the combat readiness of three fighter squadrons and one theater air control squadron.

This is accomplished through flight scheduling and training, intelligence, weapons and tactics, aircrew flight equipment, aviation resource management, weather, airfield management, air traffic control, and survival evasion resistance and escape.

The squadron manages a 30,000 annual flying hour program for 78 combat coded aircraft and six high-fidelity flight simulators supporting the deployment readiness, professional development and training of more than 150 people.

The OSS consists of six diverse flights and 10 different Air Force Specialty Codes and here is a breakdown of each 52nd OSS flight:

Airfield operations flight
Airfield ops is responsible for all airfield and air traffic control activities in direct support of the 52nd Fighter Wing's mission, along with supporting Air Mobility Command and Canadian airlift missions. The unit's Airmen manage flight operations seven days a week from a ground controlled approach complex and control tower facility. Additionally, airfield ops is responsible for the airfield environment including oversight of Spangdahlem's runway, parallel taxiway and six operational ramps, totaling more than 7 million square feet of airfield pavement.

Weapons and tactics flight
The weapons and tactics flight provides tactical expertise to enhance the combat readiness of the wing. The weapons and tactics Airmen oversee tactical portions of all wing training syllabi and the integrated wing training plan, plans outlining the air traffic and ground control of F16 and A10 aircraft. They also support peacetime readiness by managing and forecasting munitions requirements, organizing and conducting joint force training opportunities, and overseeing wing electronic warfare support. Finally, the flight creates tactical scenarios for flight and simulator training using the Saber Control Facility and the newly acquired Battlefield Operations Support System.

Current operations flight
The current operations flight is responsible for flight scheduling, training and flight simulator operations. This flight directs and coordinates the 52nd FW's flying schedule, aircrew training, and aviation records management and manages the wing's $242 million flying program to meet wing combat taskings. The current operations Airmen also oversee contract compliance in the Mission Training Center, used to enhance fighter pilot training realism, and full mission trainer simulation facilities, integrating simulation training with the aircrew training program.

Intelligence flight
The intelligence flight is responsible for intelligence activities supporting wing leadership with timely, all-source intelligence, for mission briefings, debriefings and deployment briefings. Intel Airmen conduct training on air-to-air, surface-to-air and ground threats. The flight also provides summaries and current intelligence briefings to wing leadership and serves as a core member of the threat working group, providing support to the anti-terrorism and force protection mission of the wing.

Weather flight
The weather flight provides and coordinates weather support to host and tenant units of Spangdahlem Air Base. The flight consolidates weather support requirements and procedures for peacetime, emergency war orders, and special operations. Weather Airmen provide services that include satellite analysis, lightning data, radar analysis, divert base support and mission execution forecasts through the "Eyes Forward" concept with the 21st Operational Weather Squadron, located at Sembach Air Base, Germany.

Aircrew flight equipment and survival evasion resistance and escape flight
The AFE and SERE flight provides equipment and situational training pilots and attached aircrews. The AFE section is responsible for the maintenance and fitting of $30 million in flying equipment, parachutes, and all associated aircrew survival equipment. The flight provides aircrew extraction training for 220 pilots and fighters.

The SERE section instructs pilots in combat survival training and assists with recovery operations.

The 52nd OSS flights come together to ensure the 52nd Fighter Wing Sabers are ready to "fly, fight and win."

Squadron facts:
· The 52nd OSS was originally constituted Jan. 25, 1943, as the 52nd Airdrome Squadron. It was activated Feb. 1, 1943, in support of World War II for the 2nd Air Force located at Fairmont Army Air Base, Neb.
· The squadron was officially deactivated April 1, 1944.
· On March 1, 1992, the squadron was reconstituted and designated as the 52 OSS. It was activated March 31, 1992, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, as part of the 52nd Operations Group, 52nd Fighter Wing.
· Lt. Col. Geoffrey A. Maki is the current commander of the 52nd OSS. He assumed command of the squadron May 28, 2009, and is the squadron's 11th commander.