By CW2 Rebecca Pinckney and DAC Brian Swensen
The 150A Air Traffic and Airspace Management Technician is an Aviation Branch technical warrant officer specializing in the areas of air traffic services, airfield management, and airspace management. They are present throughout Aviation formations from the company level all the way to the airspace management element in the Army Service Component Command (ASCC) headquarters. The Army made the decision in 2005 to revive the 150A Military Occupational Specialty and the first class graduated in August 2007.
The 150A career field reached an important milestone in October when the first group of students completed the first-ever 2-week 150A specific portion of the Aviation Warrant Officer Advanced Course (AWOAC). Previously 150As attending AWOAC would attend one of the other Aviator-based tracks. With the implementation of a 150A designed track the Army can now better prepare 150As for further assignments by tailoring their AWOAC experience to the future duties they can be expected to assume.
The course material in the 150A AWOAC segment focuses on the three core areas of interest for a 150A warrant officer. The Air Traffic Services (ATS) Compliance material was developed in consultation with the Aviation Resource Management Survey (ARMS) team based out of the Air Traffic Services Command (ATSCOM) and culminates with an assessment of an ATS facility belonging to 1-11th Aviation Battalion at Fort Rucker to include an outbrief with the unit commander. The airfield management portion was developed based on the Contingency Airfield Management (CAM) workshop held by ATSCOM and culminates in an assessment of the Geneva Municipal Airport near Fort Rucker and a panel discussion with the CAM workshop instructors.
The airspace management segment was developed in close cooperation with the airspace control doctrine writers and analysts at the Mission Command Center of Excellence. The airspace management portion culminates with the students assuming the role of a notional division airspace management staff section to draft the division airspace control appendix to the OPORD.
CW3 Jeremy Drage, a student in the first group to attend the 150A AWOAC portion, currently assigned to Headquarters, Pacific Command, said:
“The ATASMT track specific portion embedded in the AWOAC is vital to the education and growth of our MOS. At CW3 and higher grades the positions we’ll be expected to fill will require us to perform the Airfield Management and Airspace Management tasks. Both of these skills were primary topics for the track specific course and afforded us the opportunity to learn or hone these skills and prepare us for our future assignments. Our peers that have already attended AWOAC prior to this only had the option to attend the Safety or TACOPS tracks. Although those options had a broadening effect, they don’t help our performance of the tasks a 150A must be successful at. Subsequently, those 150A’s missed the valuable experience afforded during these past two weeks.”
Drage was also in the first graduating class of MOS 150A warrant officers in August 2007.
The 150A program has afforded opportunities to many excellent air traffic controllers to become warrant officers and show the aviation community what we bring to the current fight and how we will shape the airspace battlefield in future fights. “We want the best and brightest in our Corps, and it is not only about being a good controller. We need and want NCOs who know how to lead Soldiers, how to train Soldiers, who are willing to learn how to make the 150A and the 15Q relevant to all commanders, and genuinely possess the desire to be the best they can be.
This month I asked CW2 Rebecca Pinckney the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE) 150A Air Traffic and Airspace Management Branch Chief and DAC Brian Swensen the 150A Course Manager to write an article on the latest updates to 150A training. They execute and are the subject matter experts on the 150A course and the 150A technical specific training in the Aviation Warrant Officer Advanced Course. CW2 Pinckney stated, “Becoming a Warrant Officer was the best decision I’ve made in my career. I care about our MOS, I care about our Soldiers, and I absolutely love being part of the Warrant Officer Corps.” Above the Best! —CW5 Godfrey
CW5 Allen R. “Randy” Godfrey is the chief warrant officer of the Aviation Branch, CW2 Rebecca Pinckney is the 150A Air Traffic and Airspace Management Branch Chief and DAC Brian Swensen the 150A Course Manager, all with the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, AL.
caption: Above Left: (left to right) CW2 Rebecca Pinckney (Instructor), CW3 Jeremy Drage, CW3 Craig Upchurch, DAC Brian Swensen (Instructor), CW2 Randy Aguirre, CW2 David Phaneuf practicing emplacement of the theodolite to conduct an airfield assessment.
Above RIght: CW2 David Phaneuf (left) and CW3 Jeremy Drage, students in the first AWOAC 150A track-specific segment, conduct a compliance inspection at Allen Stagefield at Fort Rucker, AL.
Credit: USAWOAC COURTESY PHOTOS