PINEVILLE, Louisiana – The Louisiana Air National Guard’s 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron (ATCS) located at England Airpark, Alexandria, Louisiana, provides rapid deployment, operation and maintenance of traffic control systems air and landing gear to ensure safe and efficient flight operations in both deployed and non-deployed environments.
Since commissioning into the Air Force on June 12, 1997, the 259th ATCS has provided 24-hour air traffic control services and has proven to be an experienced asset to Alexandria International Airport. (AEX). The 259th remains ready to deploy within the United States to protect the lives and property of Louisiana citizens during natural disasters and globally to provide tactical air traffic control services in support of national interests Americans.
“It’s an excellent partnership with the English authorities. They get qualified air traffic controllers 24/7, and this partnership provides our squadron with a live airport, with good air traffic to train our air traffic controllers,” said Baton Rouge, La. Native, Lt. -Retired Colonel Raymond C. Schindler II. , responsible for civil air traffic control of the 259th ATCS. “It keeps our air traffic controllers and maintainers ready for war.”
Keeping in mind that the 259th is likely to deploy at any time, the 259th ATCS has an embedded cadre of Department of Defense civilian controllers who are non-deployable but work for the Louisiana Air National Guard. Therefore, when the entire 259th ATCS is deployed, MoD civilian controllers operate and execute the AEX.
Maintaining the highest operational tempo requires commitment and on-the-job training every day. Maintaining unit readiness is critical to the mission and overall success in their field. The 259th maintains a manning level of over 96% and has been consistently recognized for having the highest manning level of any ATCS in the ANG.
Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Calhoun, superintendent of operations for the 259th ATCS and a native of Anacoco, Louisiana, said, “When our task group commander and our wing commander visit us, they say we are a very functional squadron. “
The 259th ATCS plays a major role in state operations and has monitored more than 30,000 air operations since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. No matter where in the world a conflict arises or a crisis erupts, the unit has 72 hours to be ready to go once activated. Since its inception, the 259th has deployed approximately 140 members to 21 countries for a variety of missions.
“From the time we were called back until 36 hours later, the plane was flying off the runway,” Schindler said of the unit’s 2017 mission to provide hurricane relief missions in Porto. Rico. “I’ve never seen an air traffic control unit put together an air package that quickly and actually got it on the plane ready to go.”
Recently, two Airmen, Senior Master Sgt. Tracy L. McDonald and Tech. sergeant. Stephen W. Boniol of the 259th ATCS was selected for the 2021 Airfield Operations Award based on his outstanding performance and duties that exceed what is required.
“Having the recognition of a job well done made me feel good. It wasn’t something I had squarely in mind; I just try to do my best for my job,” said Boniol, a native of Glenmora, Louisiana. “The greatest thing about my leadership is that it’s tangible and personal.”
The hard work and dedication of the 259th ATCS is something Louisiana ANG can be proud of. Amidst all the unfortunate events since the 2020 pandemic, they are determined to stand tall and complete their missions.
“What amazes me about the Airmen here at the 259th is that they don’t fail,” Schindler said. “No matter what kind of challenges they faced, this squadron never failed to meet the demands at the state or federal level.”
|Date posted:||26.01.2022 22:27|
|Site:||PINEVILLE, LA, USA|
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