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Airfield ‘markings’ support Rescue operations

Brig. Gen. Nina Argmagno, 45th Space Wing commander, meets with Capt. Gibson Sprott, Michael Coyle, and Master Sgt. Jennifer Shy, of the 45th Operations Support Squadron, on one of the two deck landing pads recently installed on Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, Feb. 2, 2015.  These DLPs allow the 920th Rescue Wing, a tenant unit at Patrick AFB, to accomplish annual training at a cost savings to the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cory Long)

Brig. Gen. Nina Argmagno, 45th Space Wing commander, meets with Capt. Gibson Sprott, Michael Coyle, and Master Sgt. Jennifer Shy, of the 45th Operations Support Squadron, on one of the two deck landing pads recently installed on Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, Feb. 2, 2015. These DLPs allow the 920th Rescue Wing, a tenant unit at Patrick AFB, to accomplish annual training at a cost savings to the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cory Long)

Capt. Gibson Sprott, Michael Coyle, and Master Sgt. Jennifer Shy, of the 45th Operations Support Squadron, stand on one of the two deck landing pads recently installed on Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, Feb. 2, 2015.  These DLPs allow the 920th Rescue Wing, a tenant unit at Patrick AFB, to accomplish annual training at a cost savings to the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cory Long)

Capt. Gibson Sprott, Michael Coyle, and Master Sgt. Jennifer Shy, of the 45th Operations Support Squadron, stand on one of the two deck landing pads recently installed on Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, Feb. 2, 2015. These DLPs allow the 920th Rescue Wing, a tenant unit at Patrick AFB, to accomplish annual training at a cost savings to the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cory Long)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The old adage that practice makes perfect is not just a saying; it's a way of life for service members. But what happens when the place you need to practice does not exist nearby? 

Airmen of the 45th Space Wing and the 920th Rescue Wing innovated a solution to the distance problem that will result in annual savings of approximately $288,000 by painting a pair of deck landing pads (DLP) on the east-west runway of the Patrick AFB airfield this month.

The deck landing pads here are a pair of easy to miss-'blobs'-of-paint unfamiliar to many fixed-wing pilots, but to the 920th Rescue Wing, the 301st Rescue Squadron and the Air Force at large, they are a place to practice naval deck landings.
"With the painting of the deck landing pads, pilots here no longer have to travel to an off-site location to meet their mandatory training," said Capt. Gibson Sprott, 45th Operations Support Squadron Airfield Operations Flight Commander. "In the past, the 301st would have to conduct the training at either an offshore aircraft carrier or at a naval air station such as Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida."
While simple in concept, the process to paint U.S. Navy markings on a U.S. Air Force airfield took over two years to strategically plan, coordinate and execute, said Sprott.

The 45th Space Wing Airfield Management Office ensured funding was available from the 920th RQW, secured design approval from Air Force Space Command Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations Directorate, and determined the proper placement for the DLPs, according to Sprott. 

Upon completion, Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, visited the airfield markings and recognized the team involved in the innovative endeavor. 
"The Air Force has made an excellent investment that will pay for itself after its second use," said Armagno. "This is a true success story of the 45th Space Wing's Year of Innovation."

The airfield marking project was a wing-wide effort that cost a total of $13,500.