AMLOs maintain airfield safety for sister services

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sarah Brice
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

Three 621st Contingency Response Wing Airmen supported Army units during a one-day airfield mission July 14, 2020, at Fort Irwin, California.


The Devil Raiders assisted landing zone operations with Army and Air Force units during a training event on a small airstrip at Bicycle Lake Army Airfield on Fort Irwin.


“Air mobility liaison officers are primarily advisors representing Air Mobility Command to our brethren in the Army and Marine Corps,” said Capt. Eric Steen, 621st Mobility Support Operations Squadron AMLO.


For AMLOs, representation means assisting air and ground crews on the flightline when there is no air traffic control tower in place.


“We're not air traffic control, but we're all pilots or navigators and we have an aviation background,” said Maj. Clark Beesemyer, 621st MSOS AMLO. “We set up the landing zone markings for them and we also run as the landing zone safety officer to help provide oversight to the whole process. We let the aircraft know what they need to know in order to safely land and take off and make sure the mission is accomplished as efficiently as possible.”


Information like wind speed, temperature, pressure, rolling friction factor and the hardness of the landing zone is what the AMLOs collect and report back to the pilots on. AMLOs usually arrive on site a day prior to the aircraft landing to survey the runway, ensure it's safe to land on, and install an airfield marking pattern in accordance with the pilot's request.


During this week's exercise, the landing zone was comprised of a dirt runway on a dry lakebed. Because of the nature of the runway, AMLOs had to be wary of dust kicked up from jet engines as the two C-17 Globemaster aircraft landed while directing them to different places to park and ironing out miscommunication on the plan for loading Army jumpmasters into the aircraft. After the aircraft took off, the Airmen went back on the runway to test if it was safe for them to land again after their mission. These sorts of exercises are what AMLOs train for out in the field, said Steen.


“Downrange, we do the same thing …” said Steen. “An AMLO can go out solo and they do. We deploy that way.”


AMLO positions are usually three-year assignments before Airmen return to their primary jobs.


“The diversity of mission affords officers the ability to get a wide view of the Air Force and all the types of planning and operations that we employ,” said Beesemyer.


“We're heavily integrated with the Army or Marine Corps and we spend most of our time with them so we really learn the lingo and the cultural differences,” said Steen. “I think the position is really valuable to the Air Force and our joint partners to allow things to flow smoothly.”