AOTW escorts RAB through innovation

  • Published
  • By Airman Jared Lovett
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Senior Airman James Jones, a controlled movement area escort and project manager assigned to the 86th Civil Engineering Squadron, was recognized as Airlifter of the Week July 22, 2021, for his ability to improve processes and find innovative solutions to issues to enhance airfield security at Ramstein Air Base.

Jones revamped the escort augmentee program by making it more timely and efficient for the escort augmentees brought from different squadrons. Jones worked with multiple squadrons to increase the security of the airfield. He also found discrepancies within design plans which prevented money and time being wasted.

“We made it to where they train back with their units so they can start working right away,” said Jones. “Instead of coming here for a week or two and doing all of the training and not being able to work yet.”

Escort augmentees support base-wide construction programs in controlled movement areas where civilian contractors require an escort. They make sure that contractors don’t cross over restricted area lines and stay away from certain areas when aircraft are landing.

“He took the program and rebuilt it and gave it continuity,” said Master Sgt. Tania Darder, 86th CES superintendent. “He has been working with airfield managers to ensure that whenever we need military personnel to be augmented to the escort program, we can get them and they are properly trained beforehand and have all of the credentials for the airfield.”

Previously, Airmen spent a week getting trained by people like Jones when first arriving for escort augmentee duty. Now Jones has found a way to increase productivity and save time.

Jones coordinated with multiple squadrons to find an inexpensive solution and upgrade airfield security by replacing old security barriers. Jones partnered with the 786th CES to replace old barriers with new barrier arms, repurposing previously allocated equipment and increasing airfield security.

Jones has consistently made processes at Ramstein run smoothly and efficiently.

Jones and a team of engineers were responsible for identifying multiple discrepancies on a $350,000 airfield design project to expand one of NATO’s taxiways.

The maps they were planning the design off of were out of date, which Jones caught and ultimately prevented construction workers from breaking ground in the wrong place.

“Identifying that not only saves money from the contractors having to readjust, but it also saves time,” said Darder.

Jones is currently transitioning between different responsibilities within his career field that will give him more opportunities to display his leadership abilities.

“It’s more like being the middleman,” said Jones. “I'll make sure that the projects go smoothly and that the designers get their blueprints when they’re supposed to get them.”

Jones has been focusing on escorts and airfield construction with construction season at its peak, but he is also learning how to read and design drawings and how to write up airfield construction waivers for future projects.

“He takes things and he runs with it all the way to the end,” said Darder. “He’s one of those behind the scenes people that you don’t realize the value of, but I’ve been fortunate enough to realize his value.”