JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —
The 1st Operations Support Squadron air traffic control team at Langley Air Force Base has been awarded the Air Force-level 2017 D. Ray Hardin Air Traffic Control Facility of the Year for the second consecutive time.
The prestigious award is presented to ATC facilities that execute superior capabilities through seamless operations while ensuring safety and efficiency. Facilities are also evaluated on improvements, innovative performance and non-standard operations in alliance with the National Airspace System.
“This is a huge accomplishment,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Kerry Hall, 1st OSS tower chief controller. “I think this second win validates our team and it really shows our career field, and the Air Force, what kind of Airmen we have here at Langley.”
According to Hall, ATC’s have not received consecutive Air Force-level and major command-level D. Ray Hardin award wins since 1963.
Teamwork is crucial in an air traffic control tower, Hall continued, the fast-paced environment requires clear communication between team members while they work with several different agencies to coordinate aircraft movement.
“Our team works well together, and we have each other’s backs,” said Senior Airman Derek Robertson, 1st OSS air traffic controller. “Controllers who have worked here for a while will take new Airmen under their wing and work to help them develop into a rated controller.”
According to Robertson, the team’s training methods and open communication are also key elements to their success because each controller depends on their counterparts for support in the tower. When new Airmen are not working live-traffic operations, they are practicing with the program simulator to cultivate the confidence and ability to aid their teammates.
“I consider us more of a family than a team, and I think the environment that we have fostered was key to bringing home that second win,” Hall said. “The camaraderie in this office is outstanding. Our Airmen are able to humble themselves, accept that they don’t know everything and understand that they can accomplish more as a team than as individuals.”
As the team accepts recognition for their hard work, Hall continued, they are using the award as motivation to propel the themselves through another successful year. An ATC facility has yet to take home three consecutive wins; however, the Langley air traffic controllers are setting their sights on the possibility of making history.
“Of course we’re going for a three-peat,” Hall said. “In my mind we already got it. First you have to speak it, believe it, and eventually it will come to reality. We’re already speaking it. We just come to work, do our job to the best of our ability and we let our work speak for itself.”