ATSS shop working behind the scenes

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Blocker
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Climbing 50-foot towers and fixing radar in the frigid Indiana winter is a difficult task but somebody has to do it. That’s where the airway transportation systems specialists come in handy.

An airway transportation systems specialist maintains, troubleshoots, and repairs surveillance radar, air traffic control software systems, air-to-ground radios, runway instrument landing systems and the base weather station.

Grissom’s ATSS shop consists of a team of eight technicians and is led by, Jerry Pace, ATSS supervisor.

“We have a tight knit group,” Pace said. “The comradery is great and we look out for each other like we are family. It makes doing what we do so much fun.”

The ATSS shop won the 2020 Lima Site 85 Team award which recognizes exceptional radar, airfield, and weather systems teams and honors the 12 Airmen who died defending the Lima Site 85 radar facility during the Vietnam War.

“We have great guys and we are very diverse,” Pace continued. “We all come from different backgrounds and it makes our jobs easier to get the experience from every aspect of our career field.”

This is third year in a row that the ATSS shop won the Lima Site 85 Team award. Pace said that he is confident that his guys can take home the award again.

Pace said that due to recent changes, the ability to service, maintain, and certify their systems was returned to them from the Remote Maintenance Center at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. He said their overall equipment downtime rate has decreased tremendously and their overall mission capability rate is in the upper 90 percent since.

“There is a lot of work that gets done that not many people realize,” said Pace. “The planes don’t fly without a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. That’s where we come in.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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