TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Several organizations at Tinker Air Force Base worked together during the first week of January to keep the installation safe through several days of ice and snow.
Meteorological Technician Robert Kroupa with the 72nd Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight said they kept an eye on the weather Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 when they saw bad weather was coming.
As freezing rain came Jan. 2 and snow began to fall Jan. 3, the Weather Flight began a series of group emails and conference calls to leaders throughout the base to keep them up to date.
Alutiiq, a contracting agency managed by Tinker Civil Engineering, began a “snow watch” 72 hours before the bad weather was expected, and began preparations around base 24 hours before ice or snow was expected, said Doug Bynum, the lead of quality assurance for CE.
The first priority for Alutiiq was the airfield, then they moved to gates, intersections and important roadways, spreading a mixture of ice melt and sand and sending hourly updates to CE.
Trace, another contractor managed by CE, handled the walkways leading to Bldgs. 3001 and 9001, the youth centers and the gyms on base.
Kroupa said that overall, there was effective communication and teamwork across base agencies.
“I think it went pretty well. We got the email out ahead of time so people were prepared. We weren’t caught off guard, which is a good thing,” Kroupa said,
Col. Kenyon Bell, commander of the 72nd Air Base Wing, authorized liberal leave Jan. 3-4 due to the inclement weather although the base closed overnight during mid-shift on Jan. 3 for 12 hours.
“Keeping the base community safe and maintaining mission capabilities are top priorities, and both were upheld during the weather event,” Bell said.
“The ongoing communication and agility that was displayed by keeping the air field open and the roadways safe is a testament to the dedication of all involved.”