New aircraft demand increased FOD vigilance
by Tech. Sgt. Brian Jones, 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
1/12/2007 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Controlling Foreign Object Debris on any airfield is crucial, but with the arrival of F-16s to Incirlik, the FOD program here has become even more important.
"The FOD program is important because it helps to eliminate the potential for unnecessary damage to aircraft caused by foreign objects," said Master Sgt. Michael Martinez, 39th Maintenance Squadron transient alert flight chief and wing FOD monitor. "This may include rocks, nuts, bolts and even a soft object like a potato chip bag can cause damage to an aircraft engine."
The arrival of Fighting Falcons has made controlling FOD on Incirlik's flightline even more critical to mission success.
"FOD awareness is always important, however, with the arrival of F-16s, it does make the FOD program even more significant," said Sergeant Martinez. "Unlike the heavy aircraft that frequent Incirlik, the F-16 is more likely to ingest FOD into the aircraft intake."
The F-16 engine intakes are much closer to the ground than the larger aircraft normally on the Incirlik flightline.
"If an F-16 were to ingest a small pebble or rock, it would be enough to destroy the engine leading to many man-hours to replace and repair the engine," added Sergeant Martinez.
One of the ways to prevent foreign objects from reaching the flightline and potentially causing damage to aircraft is to perform rollover tire checks on all vehicles entering the area.
"Rollover FOD checks must be done at all flightline entry control points," said Sergeant Martinez. "Inspect the tires for any foreign objects that may be lodged in the treads of the tires and remove them. After all tires have been inspected, move the vehicle forward enough to rotate the tires about 180 degrees and inspect all the tires for the portion that is now visible."
Paying close attention to controlling FOD will go a long way to ensuring the success of the fighters visiting the "Lik."
"The major challenge of the FOD program with the presence of F-16s is awareness," said the wing FOD monitor.
"FOD is indiscriminant and doesn't know the difference between a U.S. and Turkish fighter," said Col. "Tip" Stinnette, 39th Air Base Wing commander. "Everyone needs to be vigilant and proactive in reducing FOD on the flightline."
Close to many of the world’s potential trouble spots, Incirlik Air Base is an important base in NATO’s Southern Region. The mission of the host 39th Air Base Wing is to help protect U.S. and NATO interests in the Southern Region by providing a responsive staging and operational air base ready to support full-spectrum operations.
Although the 39th Air Base Wing has no permanently assigned U.S. Air Force aircraft, it provides excellent facilities and supports various training deployments and regional exercises, serves as a key communications link for National Command Authority taskings and provides hub support for various units.
Turkey-based Airmen saving troops' lives in Iraq
by Michael Tolzmann, Air Force Print News
11/14/2006 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (AFPN) -- Hundreds of miles away from the war zone, the efforts of Airmen here are helping keep Iraq-based troops off dangerous convoy routes that are plagued with roadside bombs and sniper attacks.
By flying critical supplies via C-17 Globemaster III from this eastern Turkey air base directly to servicemembers at remote locations in Iraq, more than 3,300 convoy truck missions are taken off the Iraqi roads each month, said Capt. James Burnham, aerial port operations officer with the 728th Air Mobility Squadron here.
The design of the C-17 allows it to land at small, austere airfields, and it has defensive measures against missile attacks.
During around-the-clock operations at the Cargo Hub here, supplies such as essential add-on humvee equipment or repair parts and medical supplies are examples of critically needed items that are loaded onto C-17s destined for Iraq, said 2nd Lt. Ryan Randall, officer in charge at the Air Terminal Operations Center.
Close to 60 percent of all air cargo destined for Iraq passes through Incirlik Air Base, said Col. Tip Stinnette, commander of the 39th Air Base Wing. He said three reasons influence the mission being operated here -- location, location, location.
"Incirlik is a strategic center of gravity for the U.S. and Turkey in this region," Colonel Stinnette said . "Here at Incirlik, I can pump that airplane and aircrew into Iraq twice in a day. By doing so, we can rededicate airplanes and aircrews to other missions. This comes down to greater efficiency and greater allocation of recourses. You can do a strategic hub just about anywhere, in fact, previously it was done out of Ramstein. But it takes a day for a plane to cycle from Ramstein into Iraq and back," he said.
The Cargo Hub here facilitates what has been coined a "hub and spoke" operation. Incirlik is considered the hub, or center of a wheel, and the many routes flown outward from this center point form the spokes of this imaginary wheel.
"From a strategic perspective, we want to get cargo from the fort to the foxhole quickly. If cargo can be moved on a ship, that's better. You can put more things on a ship, and it's less expensive to move it. But there are some things that just have to get there now, tonight, kind of like the Fedex thing, when it positively has to get there," Colonel Stinnette said.
Colonel Stinnette said the fort to foxhole process begins when cargo is loaded onto contracted 747 airplanes at locations on the U.S. East coast and flown to Incirlik. These jumbo jets can carry more than 40 pallets of cargo. Airmen here off-load the 747s and reload the cargo on C-17s destined for Iraq. Some commercial aircraft fly directly into Iraq, where runways and facilities are capable of receiving the jumbo 747.
"They can't service a lot of the airfields we service. And we want to get the cargo closer to the foxhole. The closer you can get it to the foxhole, the less distance a humvee or truck or convoy has to travel. If you reduce the amount of distance that vehicle has to go to get its cargo, then you decrease the risk of an improvised explosive device impacting a convoy. So, the Airmen at Incirlik are directly and indirectly related to the effort to mitigate the threat to convoys in Iraq. We can get the cargo to more bases in Iraq and quicker," Colonel Stinnette said.
"The greatest accomplishment of this airlift hub is that every time we fly a sortie, we keep a convoy of trucks and drivers off of the dangerous roads of Iraq," said Col. Mike Cassidy, 385th Air Expeditionary Group commander.
Since the inception of the Cargo Hub mission in June of 2005, more than 103,000 tons of cargo have been moved through Incirlik. Total Force teamwork made this happen with active duty, guard and reserve Airmen, U.S. civilian personnel and Turkish nationals contributing. The 728th AMS, the 385th AEG and the 39th Air Base Wing all support the mission.
"What we have moved is the equivalent of an entire cruise liner (its weight) -- by air," Captain Burnham said .
"Incirlik Airmen should hold their heads high knowing that they have accomplished something great. Regardless of your unit patch and Air Force specialty, everyone on this installation has contributed to this total force team. From airfield management to lodging management, vehicle and AEG maintenance, fuels, command post, in sum the entire Incirlik community has had a role to play in supporting the Cargo Hub and we can be proud," Colonel Stinnette said.
Americans have been operating at Incirlik for 51 years. Other recent missions at Incirlik include an KC-135 Stratotanker refueling mission for aircraft flying to and from the Afghanistan area of operations; a Turkish KC-135 mission; NATO humanitarian support to the Pakistan earthquake earlier this year; the Lebanon evacuation this year when 1,700 displaced persons were hosted here temporarily and moved to the U.S.; and U.S. fighter jets train at a Turkish weapons range nearby.
"We are the 911 for the region. You want it. You need it. You come to 'the Lick' and the men and women here are going to make it happen. When you walk around Incirlik, you'll think you're in Mayberry. It's a very tight community," Colonel Stinnette said.
One of the associated pictures:
Original photo caption: Airmen from the 728th Air Mobility Squadron load a C-17 Globemaster III at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Nov. 13. Over half of all air cargo delivered to support Operation Iraqi Freedom is processed through here. By flying critical supplies via Globemaster from this eastern Turkey air base directly to troops at remote locations in Iraq, more than 3,300 convoy truck missions and 9,000 servicemembers supporting the convoys are taken off Iraq roads each month. (USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Larry A. Simmons)