Combined command post gains recognition



by Gene H. Hughes
908th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


3/23/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Maxwell Command Post provides a number of critical services to the base, from emergency response and leadership tracking to monitoring of flight operations and alert systems. It also leads the way in active-reserve cooperation through combining personnel from the 908th Airlift Wing and the 42nd Air Base Wing into one seamless team.

Its success has been unmatched at the 22nd Air Force, where it was recently named Small Command Post of the Year. In addition, having a team made up of active-duty and reserve personnel, the command post is currently competing at both Air Force Reserve Command and Air Education and Training Command for major command-level Small Command Post of the Year.

"It's a way of recognizing controller efforts individually and collectively as a team," said Staff Sgt. Melissa Carmon, one of the reserve controllers. "This recognition helps bring awareness to our groundbreaking processes and procedures. It also helps validate what we do behind closed doors and shows us that we matter."

The command post is a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week entity that acts as an executive agent to 42nd ABW and 908th AW commanders. Among the functions performed are coordinating reports to higher headquarters, facilitating flying operations and managing all emergency operations for both Maxwell and Gunter Annex, including computer alert notifications, base sirens and "the giant voice."

The facility's state-of-the-art technology helps Airmen receive and disseminate notifications for base leadership and personnel. As the funnel of information from higher headquarters, the command post personnel processes and relays information in a timely matter. This allows leadership to make knowledgeable decisions with the most up-to-date data possible.

"In one week, we can deal with anything from several medical and fire responses to death notifications, Force Protection Condition changes, extreme weather, distinguished visitor arrivals and active shooter events to something as simple as wet-bulb temperature changes and daily flying operations," Carmon said.

Master Sgt. Dawn Bridgers, the noncommissioned officer in charge of console operations, manages the controllers operating the command post. She is responsible for covering all checklists, communications equipment and other items pertaining to console operations. There is also a training manager who makes sure controllers are ready to take on the mission and react to any situation.

Master Sgt. Brian Lewis, a new addition to Maxwell, is superintendent of the command post, the final authority who ensures all decisions reflect the "team-first" mentality.

"We have fully integrated as a team, and the evidence of this is shown by 22nd Air Force recognizing us as its 2011 Small Command Post of the Year," he said.

Airmen on the command post team say they have a deep sense of job satisfaction.

"We work to keep the base safe while all its residents sleep," said Senior Airman Christopher Adams. "It feels good to work in a family-like environment where you can make a difference. It's fun to work where you hear and know it all."