260th ATCS Airmen deploy to Puerto Rico

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Thomas Johnson
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

On a cold New Hampshire day, 12 members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing Air Traffic Control Squadron deployed in support of hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico on November 13, 2017, from Pease Air National Guard Base.

The Airmen will augment an existing air traffic control element from the 235th ATC, North Carolina Air National Guard, at an airfield in Ponce, Puerto Rico.  

“The airfield in Ponce is an uncontrolled airfield, meaning there are no operational air traffic control towers for the field,” Said Lt. Col. Charles Smith, commander of the 260th ATCS. “Due to all the military flights of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft in and out of the field for the hurricane relief effort, they decided to bring in an ATCS.”

The team will operate from an MSN-7 mobile tower system belonging to the 241st ATCS, Missouri Air National Guard. The mobile tower is a Humvee with an air traffic control tower mounted on top of it, explained Smith.

The team will remain in Puerto Rico for approximately thirty days, through the Thanksgiving holiday.

Everybody volunteered knowing they would be missing the holiday with their families, said Smith.

The twelve ATCS Airman are now part of the fifty three Air National Guard members who have already deployed for the relief effort to date.

“To me, this is what the guard is,” said Smith. “This is what we do when people need help, we go.”