Ground Radar keeps Incirlik AB, Adana flying

(From left) U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Nelson Guerra, Senior Airman’s Derek Miles and Mark Trusty, 39th Operations Support Squadron ground radar technicians, stand outside the Digital Airport Surveillance Radar Feb. 22, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Ground radar technicians here have the responsibility of maintaining the only operational radar for all air traffic for Adana Airport and Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

(From left) U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Nelson Guerra, Senior Airman’s Derek Miles and Mark Trusty, 39th Operations Support Squadron ground radar technicians, stand outside the Digital Airport Surveillance Radar Feb. 22, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Ground radar technicians here have the responsibility of maintaining the only operational radar for all air traffic for Adana Airport and Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Mark Trusty, 39th Operations Support Squadron ground radar technician verifies power output of the primary surveillance radar Feb. 22, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Trusty is one of eight Airmen assigned to the ground radar unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Mark Trusty, 39th Operations Support Squadron ground radar technician verifies power output of the primary surveillance radar Feb. 22, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Trusty is one of eight Airmen assigned to the ground radar unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Nelson Guerra, 39th Operations Support Squadron ground radar technician, validates operation of standby channels with an oscilloscope Feb. 22, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The radar systems are used to maintain and provide constant radar connection for military and civilian aircraft in the local area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Nelson Guerra, 39th Operations Support Squadron ground radar technician, validates operation of standby channels with an oscilloscope Feb. 22, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The radar systems are used to maintain and provide constant radar connection for military and civilian aircraft in the local area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- The 39th Operations Support Squadron ground radar systems Airmen maintain the only functional radar systems in the local area for military and commercial aircraft traffic.

The 39th OSS Airmen, working as maintainers, are charged with running the radar systems while ensuring the safety of all aircraft within its 11,300 square-nautical-mile radius.

"Our duty is to maintain the radar so the controllers have a clear picture of the air space, which in turn, allows them to get our aircraft to support Operation Inherent Resolve mission and other critical targets," said Airman 1st Class Nelson Guerra, 39th OSS ground radar apprentice.

The radar systems are used by military aircraft traffic within the airspace and by the local airport.

"The two systems we maintain are the Digital Airport Surveillance Radar and the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System valued at $9.5M," said Guerra.

In addition to the DASR and STARS, there are other radar systems running as back-ups. These systems ensure the continuation for their no-fail mission.

"This is one of the last highly technical career fields left in the Air Force," said Guerra. "We maintain a system that measures the timing of radio waves to calculate the azimuth, elevation, and distance of all aircraft and weather within the local area."

The fight against ISIS has welcomed NATO partners and their aircraft to the air space maintained by ground radar airmen.

"Operation Inherent Resolve is a multinational effort with the mission's airspace being utilized by several different nations flying various aircraft," said Senior Airman Mark Trusty, 39th OSS ground radar journeyman. "Knowing the locations of armed aircraft and safely controlling them is essential to preventing international incidents.  Our radar provides identification of all aircraft within an area of 11,300 square-nautical-miles allowing controllers to identify aircraft and organize the airspace."

Guerra shared what makes coming to work ready to accomplish the mission easier.

"The people you work with make the job better," said Guerra. "Being such a small shop and career field everyone has to pull their weight. When the work load gets stressful or demanding it helps knowing you are able to count on the person next to you."