Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer


(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault) PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Karen Mitchell, 21st Operations Support Squadron transient alert lead servicer, escorts a C-40 Clipper from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to its parking spot June 17, 2015. This is Mitchell’s 19th year as part of a nine member servicing crew who escorts, coordinates services, fuels, and supports all aircraft to and from Peterson.

By Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault

21st Space Wing Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  —  Peterson does not have an aircraft wing, however, its flight line hosts guests and distinguished visitors from all over the world, joint service visits and exercises, and aircraft visiting neighboring bases and post.

When an aircraft lands, the pilots are greeted by a transient alert vehicle with large letters spelling “FOLLOW ME.” The vehicle escorts the aircraft to a parking spot where they are greeted by another transient alert servicer waving the pilots into park.

There are eight servicing contractors and one aerospace ground equipment contractor. The crew escorts, services, fuels and supports approximately 1500 aircraft annually, said Karen Mitchell, 21st Operation Support Squadron transient alert lead servicer.

There is no aircraft too big or too small for them. They service everything from trainer aircraft to C-5 Galaxies, and aircraft from all military branches as well as aircraft from other nations. The crew also coordinates and works alongside the Federal Aviation Administration, Colorado Springs Airport and Fort Carson’s Arrival Departure Air Control Group.

Escorting aircraft in and off the flight line is one of several daily tasks transient alert completes. Upon arrival, they coordinate with the aircrew any servicing the plane needs and can fuel the smaller aircraft, for example; fighters, trainers, C-21s and smaller D.V. aircraft. They also support the arriving and departing deployment units, said Mitchell.

“Being able to get the aircraft in and out of Peterson without any problems is very satisfying,” said Mitchell, who is retired Air Force and has worked at transient alert for 19 years. Before that she was a C-5 Galaxy crew chief.

The arrival, maintenance and departure is a smooth process, but the crew can assist in crash recovery if anything were to go wrong on the flight line, said Mitchell.

The nine member team’s skills and knowledge make them very unique in the trade, she said. Being the first people to greet incoming and last to wave off outgoing aircrews, they represent not only the 21st Space Wing but also Air Force Space Command.

The 21st Space Wing’s mission is not solely accomplished by the men and women in uniform but also by the Airmen not in uniform; contractors, civilians and families.

Transient alert’s precise execution of their mission supports the missions of every aircrew coming through Peterson.

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