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Projecting Forces Forward: MSgt. Rodney

  • Published
  • By Jacob Silva-Dreyer
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Getting aircraft to take off might be easy enough, but according to one 375th Operations Support Squadron Airman, the real challenge comes from landing them safely.

That’s where Master Sgt. Levi Rodney comes in. As a Landing Zone Safety Officer training instructor, it’s his job to make sure that Airman can safely operate a landing zone to project forces forward and to assist pilots in landing aircraft in contested or less-than ideal conditions.

The training not only ensures safe landings, but also creates Mission Ready Airmen who can support the Agile Combat Employment scheme of maneuver, a strategic shift to a more dispersed and resilient force. Effective LZSOs are both a wartime tool and a deterrent, while also being important for humanitarian missions.

“The Airmen need to be able to assess a remote field, prepare a suitable landing zone, and guide aircraft in–all while possessing expertise in air traffic control, airfield management, and weather systems,” said Rodney.

The training involves assessing risks associated with a shortened runway, wind speed or other runway conditions and then communicate those to the pilot. Risk assessment and flexibility, therefore, are the most important parts of the training.

“It represents a capability the Air Force requires to remain flexible and continue operations regardless of established infrastructure,” he added.

The biggest challenge for Rodney is having the time to be able to perform these exercises and the manpower to take Airmen from their workspaces for extended periods. He said that his team has been lucky to have supportive leadership who make sure LZSO exercises can make Scott’s Airmen more effective at projecting forces forward

Editor’s note: Project Forces Forward is just one of three Lines of Effort for the 375th Air Mobility Wing. The other two are Operate the Flagship and Seize Competitive Advantage. This series highlights Airmen who are supporting these missions.