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Ops Never Stops: GCA secures in-flight transitions

Airmen sitting at workstations with radar screens.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Garay, 86th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control watch supervisor, right, and Staff Sgt. Jared Martin, 86th OSS air traffic control watch supervisor, left, work at Ground Controlled Approach terminal control workstations, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 15, 2020. GCA is the counterpart to the Tower, collectively making up ATC. By transitioning local and transient aircraft from German air traffic controllers to Ramstein Tower air traffic controllers, GCA secures safe landings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

An Airman sitting at a workstation.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jared Martin, 86th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control watch supervisor, facilitates the flow of air traffic on a terminal control workstation at Ground Controlled Approach, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 15, 2020. Ground Controlled Approach, a component of ATC, guides airborne aircraft, until they transition to or from German air traffic controllers. The unit ensures rules governing flight for pilots, making sure they stay proficient in all types of landings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

Two Airmen sit in front of a radar screen.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Torey L. Jinks, 86th Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller, right, trains Tech. Sgt. Tanner Herring, 86th OSS air traffic control watch supervisor, on a terminal control workstation at Ground Controlled Approach at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 15, 2020. Prior to departure, aircraft will communicate with the ATC Tower. Once the aircraft is in the sky, pilots will communicate with GCA, guiding them until they are transitioned to German air traffic controllers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

Close-up of a hand next to a radar screen.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Tanner Herring, 86th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control watch supervisor, trains on a terminal control workstation at Ground Controlled Approach, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 15, 2020. Herring, who typically works in the ATC Tower, is cross-training to work at GCA, as well. ATC’s dual training program creates more qualified personnel, and allows for more strategic and effective operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

An Airman wearing a headset.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jared Martin, 86th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control watch supervisor, facilitates the flow of air traffic at Ground Controlled Approach, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 15, 2020. Air traffic controllers at GCA secure safe departures and landings by guiding airborne aircraft until they transition to or from German air traffic controllers. Air traffic controllers at GCA also help pilots with instrument flight rules landings, making sure they stay proficient in inclement weather runway approaches. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright).

Close-up of a hand holding strips of paper.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Torey L. Jinks, 86th Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller, holds flight progress strips at Ground Controlled Approach, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 15, 2020. Air traffic controllers at GCA record the general information and intent of each aircraft on the strips. By monitoring this information and keeping constant communication with pilots, GCA ensures safe arrival and departure of aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

An Airman writing on a notepad.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Garay, 86th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control watch supervisor, works at Ground Controlled Approach, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 15, 2020. A dual training program implemented by ATC, cross-trains controllers who work in the Tower and GCA. Airmen like Garay, who have completed the training, are qualified to work in both sections of ATC. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Air traffic controllers at 86th Operations Support Squadron ground controlled approach secure safe departures and landings at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, by guiding airborne aircraft until they transition to or from German air traffic controllers.

GCA is the counterpart to the Tower, collectively making up Air Traffic Control.