Standing Tall

The newly constructed air traffic control tower at Ali Base, Iraq, opened for operation shortly after midnight on March 12. “This is a monumental day for the US Air Force, the Army Corps of Engineers, and for the future of the Iraqi Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Michael Richardson, commander of the 407th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron at Ali Base whose members serve as air traffic controllers at the base. The new tower, which is eight stories tall, greatly improves the controllers’ visibility and overall situational awareness, enhancing the safety of operations. By contrast, the old tower, standing only three stories tall, meant that parts of the airfield were not visible from the tower cab, including many of the aircraft on the parking ramps. The old facility will remain in place and serve as a backup tower. (Ali report by MSgt. Scott Isbell)