KSLA Salutes: Journeyman controlling traffic in the skies above NWLA
BARKSDALE AFB, La. (KSLA) - Nicholas Tucker is an air traffic control journeyman at Barksdale Air Force Base who says service runs in the family.
“I come from a military background,” Tucker said. “My family is pretty much all military. My dad is actually an army pilot. So I knew I wanted to do something in the aviation industry and I wanted to join the military, so what better place than the Air Force and air traffic control.”
Tucker went through basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.
From there he went to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS for four months for tech school, where he learned the basics of air traffic control. Then for the last two years he has been at Barksdale.
“Funnest part of my job is that it’s different every day,” Tucker said, “No two situations, they may be similar, but every day is going to be different. No two planes come in the same way every day and you don’t know what to expect when you come in every day. It keeps you on your toes.”
Tucker says it takes a team effort to get the B-52′s in the air daily.
“Not one controller can do everything, especially in the departure, arrival phase,” Tucker said. “You have your ground control that takes care of everything on the ground. You have those handling all the phone calls and all the coordination. You have people taking care of everything in the air. Then you have the guys making sure everybody is in check. So if someone happens to make a mistake, it takes everybody so you notice that mistake, so nothing bad happens.”
Originally from Alabama, Tucker says he has enjoyed the last two years at Barksdale.
“Feels like I feel at home here, especially with the tower,” Tucker said. “We are all a big family here at Barksdale so it’s good to enjoy coming to work and have a group of people you enjoy being around.”
The responsibility to maintain the safety of the Airmen, fellow service members, and the community that the aircrafts fly over is not one he takes lightly.
“It feels good because it just kind of confirms you are giving back to your country that has done so much for you,” Tucker said. “You get to launch these B-52′s to go out and whether they are flying out or are on training missions, you are serving your country in a good way.”
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