JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
The 12th Operations Support Squadron performs a crucial role at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, keeping 12th Flying Training Wing pilots safe in their aerial mission by attending to duties ranging from airfield and airspace management to aircrew flight equipment inspections and training.
Another one of the 12th OSS’ vital functions is Squadron Aviation Resource Management, which Lt. Col. Jason Bianchi, the squadron’s director of operations, called “an incredibly important role in the safe conduct of flying operations.”
“SARM personnel verify aircrew are current and qualified for the mission they are scheduled to fly, ensure they’re not on a medical status that prevents them from flying an aircraft or a simulator and help track the completion of annual training requirements,” he said. “They’re the last line of defense to prevent an aircrew member from attempting something they shouldn’t do.”
Fifteen SARM technicians – also known as SARMs – support the 12th FTW’s flying training squadrons and fighter training squadron, said Robert Williams, 12th OSS Host Aviation Resource Management superintendent. They belong to the 12th OSS Aviation Resource Management Flight.
“There are three SARMs per squadron, except for the 558th Flying Training Squadron, which has two, and the 559th FTS, which has four because they fly more sorties than the other squadrons,” he said. “Most SARMs are military members, but all 12th FTW SARMs are civilians with military backgrounds. Many of them have 20 years of active-duty experience in the career field.”
That experience pays big dividends at JBSA-Randolph, Bianchi said.
“The SARM experience level at JBSA-Randolph is uniquely better than most bases,” he said. “All of our personnel have been professionals at their craft for many years, so their breadth of understanding eclipses the typical squadron SARM staff. They use their experience to conduct daily operations with ease and provide well-researched and well-thought-out solutions to regulatory challenges.
The Air Force Standard Core Personnel Document for SARMs lists the technicians’ duties in detail, but the primary purpose of the position is “to perform unit flight services, schedule unit airspace, manage the flying hour execution program and manage aviation service data, flying history and training data pertaining to all rated and nonrated officers, career enlisted aviators and parachutists.”
SARMs mission-review the training logged by aircrew after flights and prior to the data being entered into the Training Integrated Management System. Also known as TIMS, the Air Education and Training Command program is defined as “an integrated suite of applications designed to support scheduling, performance tracking, reporting and trend analysis for enterprises conducting medium- or large-scale training operations.”
Pilots also have access to TIMS, Williams said.
The Aviation Resource Management System, or ARMS, is an Air Force database that SARMs use to update aircrew members’ daily flight hours and training, and produce management reports, said Darryl Tripp, 435th Fighter Training Squadron SARM chief.
The database also maintains members’ career flight hours, training and aviation career resource management information, he said.
“SARMs use ARMS and TIMS to verify aircrews have met Air Force and major command requirements to fly,” Tripp said. “SARMs daily review more than 11 Go/No-Go items per member to validate availability for flight.”
TIMS tracks daily flight hours and training accomplished by aircrews and interfaces with ARMS to update the data into the ARMS database, he said.
“The training data is then updated from ARMS into TIMS to update the training currencies,” Tripp said.
Other TIMS features are the squadron’s daily schedule displayed on a screen and a color-code system that can display when currencies are due or overdue.
“If they’re in ‘green,’ they’re good to go,” Williams said. “If they’re in ‘red’ for any item, they don’t fly.”
Some red items are beyond pilots’ control, he said.
“They can be DNIF, which means ‘duty not including flight,’ for any medical reason that can affect their flying,” Williams said. “If they are back from a long deployment, they’ll also be in red until they complete a training program to get all their red items current again.”
The system uses other colors as well, including yellow, which shows pilots they have a requirement to meet in the near future.
“Flying commanders like that so their pilots don’t get to the point where they’re in the red,” Williams said. “That prevents a lot of reds.”
SARMs also work with personnel in the 12th Maintenance Group to ensure pilots’ flying hours match the 12th MXG’s aircraft records.
In addition to keeping tabs on flying training currency items such as takeoffs, approaches and landings, SARMS track ground currency items, which include water survival training, local area survival training and instrument refresher courses.
SARMs get to see pilots during an important phase in their careers, said Tripp, who has 33 years’ experience as a SARM, including 24 years on active duty.
“You get to see how the Air Force builds their pilots from the ground up,” he said. “We check all the pilots’ information and see that they meet all their ground requirements so they’re ready to hop into their aircraft. When the aircrew comes down, they log what they’ve accomplished into TIMS, and we review the information for accuracy. That information is then pushed into ARMS.”
SARMs “bring a precise level of attention” to their job, Bianchi said.
“Their skill and precision ensure flight plans are filed correctly, prevent delays and they serve as the facilitators that make the ‘machine’ of flying training run smoothly,” he said. “The SARMs play a key role in the flying training operations here, and we couldn’t do it without them.”