By Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell, 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 18, 2018
The 19th Airlift Wing Command Post Airmen pose for a photo at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Oct. 12, 2018. Command Post is an all-day, every-day operation with personnel accountable for numerous procedures, including notifications to personnel on base via computer mand the giant voice system for situations impacting the base, such as an emergency or inclement weather. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)
Behind the doors of an entrapment, phones are ringing off the hook in the 19th Airlift Wing Command Post. One call is from Airmen at the front gate about an unexpected gate closure, another is from a pilot whose aircraft won’t lower its landing gear in flight, and a third is from a first sergeant needing to contact an Airman down range. Each phone call requires command post Airmen to respond in a different way, and yet each scenario needs to be taken care of as soon as possible.
Every day 13 command post Airmen stay calm, cool and collected during emergencies that require their assistance. Command post serves as a nerve center of communication for Little Rock Air Force Base agencies and personnel so Team Little Rock can continue to project and sustain agile combat airlift.
Command post emergency action controllers are responsible for all kinds of notifications. Whether base personnel need announcements about contingency operations, or commanders need information about their Airmen, command post is the agency sending out the information and making those connections.
“All the negatives other people find in this career field are my positives, because I know if this base didn’t have a command post, it would fail,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Tahlia Robinson, 19th Airlift Wing Command Post NCO in charge of command and control operations. “I believe in this career field.”
Emergency action controllers start their job training at a six-week course at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Where those Airmen will be stationed determines the next step of their training. Little Rock AFB emergency action controllers go through Air Mobility Command’s course for flight following and specific mission monitoring, and end with on-the-job-training at their duty station.
Flight following and mission monitoring are a few tasks for which command post personnel will be responsible during the Thunder Over the Rock Air and Space Show Oct. 27-28. The command post will be monitoring the air show for any potential incident that may occur, and take action by notifying the appropriate agencies.
“We juggle five or six things at a time during emergencies that most of the base is unaware of,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Tashana Fustino, 19th AW Command Post junior emergency action controller. “It’s our job to keep this base safe and save lives.”
In emergency situations such as contingency operations and Red Cross notifications, command post personnel are the first to know and the ones who communicate and connect with the rest of the base to protect Team Little Rock.
Serving as the eyes and ears of Team Little Rock, 13 Airmen work around the clock to safeguard Little Rock AFB and save lives by following the appropriate procedures during emergency situations. Without command post, lines of communication would falter and base personnel wouldn’t be able to respond to emergencies in a timely manner.