Salutes & Awards

April 27, 2012

Controller receives aircraft save award

Tags:
by Airman 1st Class Grace Lee
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Pg-3-Airman-receives-safe-award

It was 10:30 p.m. Sept. 1, 2011, and four jets were preparing to land at Luke Air Force Base, when the first jet experienced mechanical problems and abruptly stopped in the middle of the runway.

The split-second decision making of Senior Airman Shawn Hanger, 56th Operations Support Squadron Air Field Operations Flight air traffic controller, prevented a potential collision and resulted in him being awarded the Gordon A. Blake Aircraft Save Award.

“When the first aircraft landed, I noticed he abruptly stopped,” Hanger said. “I didn’t hesitate to radio the pilot and ask him if he had a problem.”

Hanger explained that normally a pilot would radio the tower to report problems, but Hanger saw what was about to happen before anyone else.

The second aircraft had already landed behind the first aircraft, but it only took Hanger 1.7 seconds to react and tell the third and fourth aircraft to stay in the air. He then queried the pilot of the second aircraft to see if he could safely pass the disabled aircraft.

“The actions of Airman Hanger were critical during this potentially disastrous scenario,” said Maj. Spencer Godwin, 56th Operations Support Squadron chief of training. “Due to darkness and lack of visual cues and depth perception, it is unlikely anyone else would have seen the problem before it was too late and all the jets would have landed.”

Airman Hanger attributes his quick reactions to extensive training and good supervision.

“I had a good trainer and he always encouraged me to learn to do things on my own,” Hanger said. “Honestly, when it happened my instincts kicked in, and I felt like I was just doing my job.”

For an air traffic controller at Luke, doing the job means directing more than 350 aircraft every day. However, the pilots and Airman Hangar’s leadership recognized that his actions were truly above and beyond the abilities of most junior controllers.

As a result, he was submitted and selected to receive the aircraft save award, which recognizes actions of airfield operations personnel that result in the safe recovery of an imperiled airborne aircraft or help given to an endangered aircraft on the ground. AFI 36-2807 specifies that the performance must clearly extend beyond normal duty requirements, be professional and cast no reasonable doubt that, without this action, probable damage would have resulted.

“I know there are a lot of controllers who work hard every day just like I do, and it feels good to get acknowledged,” Hanger said. “I didn’t expect to win an award, but it’s definitely a bonus. I was completely surprised when they announced it at the wing commander’s call.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy photo

EOD called out for expertise

Courtesy photo The 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal team recovers military ordnance July 4 from the rubble of a burnt down building at an auto repair facility in Phoenix. The Luke EOD team recovered nume...
 
 

Strong followers challenge authority

It’s not surprising that when I tell subordinates to challenge authority, I often get a look of confusion. Admittedly, this is a step used to provoke thought. Obviously, we don’t need subordinates undermining their leader’s authority. My intent is not to create insubordination — it is to underscore the importance of strong followership. Great leaders...
 
 

Travel access, opportunities not to be ignored

Possibly one of the greatest and overlooked gifts we have in the military is our ability to travel. More often than not, we are stationed at bases around the world where we have the access and opportunity to travel and see the local sites. However, it happens way too often that we ignore those opportunities....
 

 
Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann

Thunderbolt joins elite Thunderbirds

Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, took this photo March 15 during Luke Air Force Base’s Open House and Air Show. She had no idea at the time that just a few months later she would b...
 
 

News Briefs July 25, 2014

Wanted: Airmen selfie videos The Air Force wants to hear from Airmen with unique stories about what led them to the Air Force, who are proud of their job and how it impacts the Air Force mission, or work in an exceptional unit. The 2014 American Airman Video Contest is open to all Airmen who...
 
 

Thunderbolt of the Week

Airman 1st Class Anna Valdez 56th Contracting Squadron Contracting specialist Hometown: Moscow Years in service: One Family: Husband, Phil; mother, Natalia; and father, Oleg Education: Russian State University of Trade and Economics bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics Inspirations: My parents demonstrated excellence and success in a loving environment, taught me to never give up...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin