Wyvern warriors work toward wing goal day

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- If Team Aviano members put their best foot forward, they may be able to earn a day off every other month for a job well done.

Although poor weather stopped the wing from earning a recent goal day, there are two factors Airmen have control of that goal days depend on: executing scheduled flying hours and adhering to the DUI Battle Plan.

Wyverns follow a strict flying hour program to continue to deter aggression and defend U.S. and NATO interests.

With more than 10,000 flight hours required this year, every Wyvern does his/her part to reach this goal. The 31st Maintenance Group and 31st Operations Group work together to help balance what is needed for base operations, and what Aviano's facilities and personnel can provide.

"The flying hour program is why we are here, to get pilots in the air," said Capt. Andrew Radloff, 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron operations officer. "We [operations and maintenance groups] come to an agreement on how many flying hours, and therefore sorties, we can fly throughout the year."

The 31st MXG schedulers use the flying hour requirement to decide how many training sorties will be flown each quarter.
Maintenance is one of the biggest contributors for the flying hour program. Every aspect of what goes into Aviano's aircraft maintenance is taken into consideration, from big detailed repairs, down to refueling.

"Maintenance drives us to keep up with the operational tempo," said Radloff. "If our maintainers cannot support the sorties and the maintenance that goes with them, we cannot get pilots in the air."

The maintenance sections prove they can carry that burden. They are well-oiled machines, fine-tuned by years of experience, and have an understanding of what is expected of them.

"It's through a certain amount of discipline that we keep the fleet healthy," said Radloff. "We look at past years, plan accordingly and prepare to support the flight hours needed."

Pilots use those flight hours to maintain their qualifications and help Aviano remain USAFE's premier go-to fighter wing south of the Alps.

"The overall combat effectiveness of the fighter squadrons depends on the entire wing," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Alexander, 31st OG chief enlisted manager. "It truly takes the entire Aviano team to come together, complete all the flying hours and effectively take the fight to the enemy."

In addition to supporting the flying hour mission, it is everyone's responsibility to stop drunk driving.

"The 31st Fighter Wing DUI Battle Plan is designed to combat a trend of DUI incidents with an appropriate course of action," said Chief Master Sgt. Shanece Johnson, 31st Fighter Wing command chief. "There are several actions commanders can take depending upon where the wing is as a whole; green, yellow or red."

The colors represent the amount of DUIs during a 60-day period, and as the number rises throughout that period, the level of awareness and possible base-wide restrictions increase. Zero incidents keep Aviano in green, one to three DUIs elevate the base to yellow and four or more drive the base into DUI condition red.

Wing leadership and Aviano's chiefs advise all of Team Aviano to look out for one another, be a wingman and take a proactive approach to drive the number of incidents down to zero.

"Excellence is a part of our core values and helps define who we are and how we conduct the mission, and we know our Airmen demonstrate this quality at work each and every day. We all just need to be a little more diligent about carrying over the trait of excellence to our off-duty time," said Johnson. "We hope every Airman chooses to step in, and stop those who drink before they drive and ensure they get a safe ride home."

With a little help from each Wyvern and Mother Nature, Team Aviano can eliminate DUIs, meet our flying hour goals and enjoy a day off.