Backbone of airfield management

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jim Araos
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
The thundering sound of aircraft landing on the seemingly endless rows of paved concrete can be witnessed on the Air Force's second largest runway. The sight and sound may be foreign to many on Vandenberg but it is familiar to Staff Sgt. Blake Fagan, 30th Operations Support Squadron NCO in charge of airfield operations.
Fagan supervises and directs the airfield and its day-to-day operations.

"I oversee the customer service section which deals with all aircraft support, airfield maintenance and any safety requirements of the airfield," said Fagan. "We do all the airfield checks before and after aircraft arrive."

Fagan issues safety notices to Airmen to ensure pilots are aware of any safety items that pertain to Vandenberg's airfield.

"We get a lot more aircraft here than most people would think because we're an active airfield," said Fagan. "We get an average of five to 10 aircraft per week."

The reason for several aircraft landing on Vandenberg is due to the support of the space and missile mission at Vandenberg. Parts utilized for the construction of missiles and rockets are transported via airspace and utilize the airfield as a quick transport hub.

"People don't understand the level of detail that goes behind airfield operations," said Master Sgt. Linda DeMuro, 30th OSS airfield manager. "We have approximately 8,100 aircraft operations annually in our airspace and airfield combined, and Fagan's group is the backbone of that space and missile mission."

Among being one of the busiest active runways in Air Force Space Command, Vandenberg is one of two airfields that supports the landing of the Boeing X-37. The X-37 is a reusable unmanned spacecraft that is operated by the U.S. Air Force for spaceflight missions.

"I've been here to support one active landing for the X-37 and one Pegasus rocket landing," said Fagan. "We've held multiple exercises of the X-37 landings, far too many to count."

Through his exceptional performance as an airfield manager, Fagan was nominated airfield management craftsman of the year for 2015.

"If you give him a task, he's going to do it, and he's going to do it well," said DeMuro. "He is an excellent NCOIC and he runs the shop to perfection. I couldn't say anything better for him and I'm proud to have him on the team."