Tower Training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Colville McFee
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing

The Beale air traffic control tower Airmen watch over the flightline day or night, but when they aren’t watching they are training constantly to be ready at a moment’s notice.

Beale is home to the RQ-4 Global Hawk, T-38 Talon and U-2 Dragon Lady. These aircraft are eyes in the sky and they utilize the air traffic control tower to help them get there to accomplish their mission.

“I enjoy being here in the tower to help get these amazing aircraft in the sky and help them land safely,” said Senior Airman Ryan Leonen, 9th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control specialist, “The communication we have has to be precise and clear so we are constantly training.”

After Airmen graduate four months of air traffic control technical training at Kessler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi, they travel to their assigned base where they continue training and developing.

“Whenever there is a chance to train we bring our new apprentices up and teach them on the job training because all towers are different due to weather and terrain.” said Leonen.

Airman at Beale start training with the local area knowledge before getting into live training. Depending on the Airman, it can take nine months to upgrade.

“I didn’t realize how intense the mission here at Beale is and I am really excited to be a part of it and know that I get to talk directly to the pilots to help the missions” says A1C Bradley Harrington, 9th OSS air traffic control apprentice, “I was really nervous at first and apprehensive about coming and working with such a critical mission to the Air Force but Senior Airman Leonen has been a great instructor and I’m now more confident in my abilities.”

With proper instruction and training, Airmen here at the Beale ATC make sure the eyes in the sky are watching.