Air Traffic Control Training - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Air Traffic Control Training

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) Air traffic control training is held year round for members of the Air National Guard in Alexandria.

"The 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron provides military training to military air traffic controllers. The air traffic controllers get their training becoming certified air traffic controllers and they get to work from the radar aspect on their equipment that they go to war with," said Pat Thompson.

For more than 15 years, the 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron has trained members of the National Guard to properly manage the sky.

Airport leaders say air traffic control is only one aspect of the National Guards Training.

"They also train for contingencies throughout the state of Louisiana. They set up points of distribution for water and stuff during all the hurricanes that have hit," said Pat Thompson.

The 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron is one of ten in the country. And for CenLa servicemen it is an opportunity to train close to home.

"We don't have to go away for a year. We can come back and stay in our squadron in our hometowns where we are all pretty much local here," said Staff Sergeant William Pearce.

"Being out here is a lot more convenient then having to go to Michigan or Wyoming or Missouri for your training. Because if you do have a problem or something like that you can go to them versus going to another unit with people you don't know and that when your training is done you are not going to see them again," said Staff Sergeant John Lee.

Air traffic control leaders say they are confident in the daily training taking place in the tower and on the runway.

"We have built so many air traffic controllers; many have gone on to have careers with the FAA. We are a very safe airport and we just provide good service to the pilots that come in here," said Pat Thompson.

The Alexandria International Airport is one of three airports in the state that are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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