News>Command Post: Air Guard, Active Duty working side by side
Master Sgt. William Mader and Tech. Sgt. Jon Daniels, 141st Air Refueling Wing Command Post controllers, verify checklist procedures during a training exercise at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., on April 11, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Johanna Brooks)
Command post controllers from both the Air National Guard’s 141st Air Refueling Wing and the 92nd Air Refueling Wing monitor equipment and consoles in the event of an emergency at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., on April 11, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Johanna Brooks)
by Staff Sgt. Johanna Brooks
141st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
4/17/2012 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Working at the Fairchild Air Force Base command post is serious business. They are always watching for, and responding to anything that may threaten the lives or property of Fairchild's military assets.
"The command post is a nerve center that responds to input from a variety of sources, and then we rapidly distribute what can be crucial information to the appropriate commanders and agencies across the base," said Master Sgt. Carl Golden, 141st Air Refueling Wing command post controller.
"As the 'eyes and ears of the commander', the command post is the conduit through which the wing's senior leadership receives orders from higher headquarters," said Chief Master Sgt. Cheryl Moriarty, 141st ARW command post superintendent.
It is the only full-time unit in the 141st ARW to be manned 24/7, all year round, and is the only Air National Guard command post in the state of Washington.
Actions must be precise. Checklists are used for every action performed to ensure proper procedures are always followed. Lives depend on it.
Personnel man a central "console" room that is linked to telephone networks, radio communications, and alerting systems, where information is received and routed to the necessary party. The use of multiple channels ensures receipt of critical information.
Before Total Force Integration, the 92nd and 141st ARWs command posts operated in separate facilities.
In 2009, the 141st relocated to the active duty's facility and now work side-by-side, the Guard on one side of the room, the active duty on the other -- an invisible line drawn down the center.
The centralization of both command posts benefits each wing. The constant flux in active duty replacements due to permanent changes in station creates a perpetual training atmosphere.
Each U.S military base across the globe carries a unique mission, meaning each command post can be significantly different from the next, requiring extensive on-the-job training. Many times, this challenge is met with the experience and longevity of the Guard controllers who have a combined 107 years of experience specific to Fairchild.
"Working at the command post is a job that on paper is simple, but to do very well, requires experience and a broad knowledge of things going on outside the doors of the CP, throughout Fairchild," said Master Sgt. Cory Green, command post controller.
Active duty equipment now available for use by the Guard strengthens the 141st ARW CP's capabilities.
The Single Channel Anti-jam Man Portable is a communication node used for receiving Emergency Action Message traffic from both HQ USAF and from U.S. Strategic Command, that prior to TFI, was unavailable at the Guard-side of the command post. The other machine now accessible to the Guard is the Aircrew Alerting Communications allows the Guard to access to the Tactical Aircrew Alerting Network in order to relay information to aircrews during operations.
"Sitting right beside the active duty controllers enhances our situational awareness, enabling the Guard leadership to stay abreast of significant events occurring on base," Moriarty said.
Due to state and federal laws and regulations, only the National Guard can respond to state emergencies, whereas the Guard can and does regularly augment active duty. The command post is a vital piece of the puzzle, increasing emergency threat recognition and response abilities in the community. Its mission contributes to the overall responsibility of protecting American citizens.