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U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Michael Herbert, air traffic controller with Marine Corps Air Facility (MCAF) Quantico poses for a picture at his workstation in the radar facility, Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico, Virginia, June 13, 2022. MCAF Quantico operates and maintains the air facilities and provides services and materials to support Marine Helicopter Squadron One and other passing aircraft. (Marine Corps photo by Tarnish Pride).

Photo by Ashley Boster

Marines of the Crossroads: Cpl. Michael Herbert, Air Traffic Controller

30 Jun 2022 | Ashley Boster Marine Corps Base Quantico

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Michael Herbert is an air traffic controller with Marine Corps Air Facility (MCAF) Quantico. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Herbert made the decision to join the United States Marine Corps to make his family proud.


The mission of MCAF Quantico is to operate and maintain the air facilities, and to provide services and materials to support Marine Helicopter Squadron One and other passing aircraft.


“I work both in the tower and radar facility as ground control and flight data. In addition, I am training on arrival control,” said Herbert.


Herbert enjoys the fast-paced nature of his job and getting to work closely with other people.


“Every position at the tower and radar involves a large amount of coordination between each other and so it facilitates a lot of teamwork and cooperation," said Herbert.


The radar facility also services two satellite airports, Stafford Regional Airport, and Shannon Airport. Air traffic controller responsibilities include guiding aircraft into and out of these airports and ensuring they get to their destinations quickly and safely.


“It can be broken down into three words - safe, orderly and expeditious,” said Herbert. “The job is important because it guarantees the safety of the equipment and personnel operating the aircraft. Ultimately our job is to facilitate the safe flow of air traffic.”


When Herbert is not working in the radar facility or in the tower, he's spending his free time at the gym, or outdoors hanging out with his friends.


Herbert leaves flyers with this peace of mind, “During any given flight, domestic or international, you are being handled by ten to twenty different people that are working rigorously behind the scenes to ensure that the aircraft is up and down safely."


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