FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. –
For Airmen newly assigned to 25th Air Force arrive at their first duty station, the security clearance required for them to do their jobs may take some time to process. At the 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, these Airmen are often stuck, waiting for several months, unable to access the information required for their assigned profession.
That is why the 70th ISRW began utilizing Airmen by Leadership and Example, or ABLE, Flight.
ABLE Flight is not an official military flight, but was created for Airmen awaiting clearances as a way to provide support to prioritized wing level jobs, said Master Sgt. Clifford Hunsaker, 707th Force Support Squadron ABLE Flight chief.
“ABLE utilization is beneficial, as the reallocated manpower alleviates the unit’s work load and gives those waiting on clearances the opportunity to gain a different perspective and appreciation of fulfilling a different job while still supporting the wing’s mission,” Hunsaker said.
There are currently 68 Airmen awaiting security clearances assigned to ABLE Flight and working throughout the wing, he said.
ABLE Flight provides support to various wing organizations, such as the Chaplain’s office, Military Personnel Flight, Fitness Center, Inspector General’s office, Dental Clinic, the Meade Attic, Legal Office, and many more, Hunsaker said.
Airman 1st Class Nicholas, 22nd Intelligence Squadron fusion analyst, has been supporting the 70th Forces Support Squadron Fitness Assessment Cell for nearly a year, as he waits for his security clearance.
Nicholas and several other ABLE Flight Airmen report to Staff Sgt. Dearon Wiley, 70th FSS FAC NCO in charge, to assist with administering official Air Force physical training tests.
“ABLE Flight Airmen have conducted approximately 3,000 official Air Force Physical Training test,” Wiley said. “They conduct most of the hands-on work, and we provide assistance and periodically to troubleshoot any issues.”
In addition to regular assignments for ABLE Flight Airmen, units that need extra personnel to complete a tasker or project can submit a request to the ABLE Flight Chief for assistance.
The ABLE Flight Airmen are able to accomplish many tasks, freeing up cleared Airmen for other duties.
“They do it all … from collecting samples at the Drug Demand Program to clearing snow from the sidewalks,” Hunsaker said. “ABLE is important because it allows Airmen who would normally just be sitting around places to be useful, while at the same time allowing the wing commander a chance to alleviate work load in areas that are often overtasked and undermanned.”
The support provided by ABLE Flight Airmen not only allows the 70th ISRW to maximize the Airmen’s time while they wait for clearances, but it also provides the Airmen with a unique opportunity to experience a job outside their career field and begin contributing to their new wing’s mission.