National Guard Holds Training Exercises At Muskogee Airport

Monday, June 8th 2015, 7:52 pm
By: News On 6

Why are there so many army helicopters flying over Muskogee? Well, several training exercises are going on between Camp Gruber and Muskogee's airport.

Several guardsmen are at the airport running a temporary control tower, gaining valuable experience for the soldiers and the pilots in the air.

Muskogee's Davis Field Airport is at the center of a military training exercise. The airport doesn't have a control tower and usually caters to small airplanes and jets.

Sergeant Andrew Brock is one of several tactical air traffic controllers using the airport as a training ground.

"It helps us stay sharp and on our game," he said.

The FAA gave the National Guard permission to set up a control tower and handle air traffic within a five-mile radius of the airport.

"It's an experience that not only us, but a lot of guard members do not get to undertake, so it's been pretty good," Brock said.

The Army National Guard is flying several of its Black Hawk helicopters between the airport and Camp Gruber, but Brock said the temporary control tower is doing much more than that.

"It's really bringing Muskogee Davis Airfield back on the map, I believe, and we're a huge part of that," he said.

Chief Warrant Officer RJ Harris said the tower also helps his controllers and local pilots simulate what it's like to fly in and out of larger airports.

"At a facility like this where you have a moderate amount of traffic, just enough to make it a little complex, I think it's a perfect opportunity for those military and civilian students to interact and learn those different skills without it being so over the top busy," he said.

This is the third time the Army National Guard has put up its control tower at the airport.

The 1-245th Airfield Operation Battalion Lexington Oklahoma unit has seen deployments to bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The exercise is expected to be over this weekend.