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No Line Between Us: How civilians and active duty work shoulder-to-shoulder in Air Traffic Control

  • Published
  • By Adam Bowles
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

About 75% of Edwards Air Force Base's direct workforce is civilian with roughly 25% being military: a statistic you probably haven't known.  Continuing on with our series "No Line Between Us", we show how civilians and active duty work shoulder-to-shoulder for the mission in Air Traffic Control on Edwards Air Force Base. The 412th Operations Support Squadron depends on this comradery to succeed in the mission.

With the 412 OSS in the Air Traffic Control Tower, experienced civilians train first time active duty Airmen to become proficient Air Traffic Controllers.

"Civilians are here in Air Traffic Control primarily because of the mission at Edwards and the complexity of it," Scott Diprofio, Air Traffic Control Supervisor said. "For continuity and the services we provide and our experience levels that we possess from all being prior military controllers; this is why we get hired here: for our expertise and to mentor and train our young active duty Airmen."

The ATC Tower is a great example of the Edwards AFB workforce: civilians and active duty working shoulder-to-shoulder.  

"What makes this tower special in my opinion is all the diversity that's here," Carlos Lucero, Air Traffic Controller said.  "With all the different tests, a lake bed, and airframes that Edwards has to offer and all the different patterns and landscapes Edwards has to offer, it's very complex and having us civilians work with the active duty definitely helps with the hectic environment that goes on in the tower."

More than two million public employees protect the nation through service in the armed forces, and more than 183,000 of them are Air Force civilian full-time, part-time, temporary, and non-appropriated fund Airmen.

Often working behind the scenes in support of their military teammates, civilians help provide a stable foundation at installations worldwide, shouldering in-garrison missions to enable military members to deploy in support of overseas contingencies.

In the ATC, this bond is just another example of how important this comradery is that strengthens the overall mission and also helps with the stresses like airframes, different types of jets and the requirements of each, busy radio traffic and more.

"This base in particular has a lot of different things, operations, and tests," Airman 1st Class Calvin Tayloe, Air Traffic Controller explained. "So, it's definitely more helpful to have civilians around to learn to be more comfortable and help you deal with those stresses rather than deal with a strict military environment."

"We share that bond," Diprofio said. "After years of training, I can talk to an Airmen and say I have been there where you are at, doing the same thing you are doing and trust me; you'll get there."

To learn more how civilians and military work hand-in-hand on Edwards AFB visit No Line Between Us.