Behind-the-scenes Airman keeps special mission flying
By Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer, 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 11, 2020
YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio --
Forty three 910th Airlift Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen traveled to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Sept. 14–25, 2020, to aid in the installation’s fire prevention program by controlling cheatgrass, an invasive weed, on Saylor Creek Training Range. One of them spent the trip mostly out of sight working with a laptop and printer in his hotel room. His job may not seem as glamorous as flying a C-130 at 200 knots, one hundred feet above the ground, but without his efforts and attention to detail, the planes couldn’t take off.
Tech. Sgt. Chris Hughes is an aviation resource manager assigned to the 910th Airlift Wing’s squadron aviation resource management office.
“Creating flight authorizations, going through the aircrew training, making sure they stay current while they’re out here and updating tasks they may be able to do by flying with instructors,” said Hughes, explaining the responsibilities of his career field. “I provide them with as much support as possible from the paperwork side of the flying.”
Further responsibilities include creating flight authorizations and mission-essential personnel letters and tracking flight hours. During the Mountain Home mission, Hughes provided assistance to the spray office by tracking the amount of product used and the acres covered. Eliminating cheatgrass on the training range reduces the risk of wildfires which can spread to surrounding areas and destroy precious natural habitat.
Without proper documentation and tracking, the mission can’t fly. Since the 910th AW operates the Department of Defense’s only large-area fixed-wing aerial spray capability to control disease-carrying insects, pest insects and undesirable vegetation and to disperse oil spills in large bodies of water, there's a lot of unique paperwork to be done. Hughes keeps the mission flying by working these behind-the-scenes logistical hurdles.