Active-duty, Reserve Airmen work together at combined command post
Master Sgt. Lamar Colbert, senior Air Reserve technician for the Maxwell command post, reviews a checklist used to respond to base emergencies here Feb. 19. Since the Maxwell command post combined in 2011, reservists work alongside active-duty Airmen to better facilitate 42nd Air Base Wing and 908th Airlift Wing missions. The 42nd ABW is the host organization for the base, while the Airmen of the 908th AW operate the seven C-130H Hercules stationed at Maxwell. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sandra Percival)
Active-duty, Reserve Airmen work together at combined command post

by Staff Sgt. Sandra Percival
Air University Public Affairs

3/8/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Command posts serve as the central nervous system for coordinating everything from first responders to recalls.

At Maxwell, the mission requires controllers to do these tasks, but in a different organizational structure. The command post at Maxwell relies on both active-duty and Reserve Airmen working as one team for mission accomplishment.

Until October 2011, the 42nd Air Base Wing and the 908th Airlift Wing each had its own command post with separate missions. The 42nd command post handled things like base disturbance response, visits from distinguished visitors and day-to-day base operations.

The 908th's, which manages the seven C-130H Hercules stationed at Maxwell, was responsible for "flight following," or the tracking of all aircraft stationed on Maxwell or using its airfield. Today, the two command posts are fully integrated and capable of managing and monitoring all installation activities as one cohesive unit.

"We keep both wing commanders abreast of the status of all personnel, aircraft, base security and pretty much anything else that happens on the base," said Master Sgt. Lamar Colbert, senior Air Reserve technician for the Maxwell command post.

In addition to combining their missions, active duty and their Reserve counterparts gain immeasurable experience from one another by being placed under one roof. Reservists work alongside their active-duty counterparts, even on unit training assembly weekends.

"Since reservists tend to stay at Maxwell for their entire careers, they provide continuity for active-duty personnel who PCS (permanent change of station) in and out on a regular basis," said Master Sgt. Brian Lewis, command post superintendent. "Colbert, for instance, has been here since 1999."

This allows for unique training opportunities and continuous learning for active and Reserve command post Airmen and civil service personnel.

"In the past, flight following was not part of AETC's [Air Education and Training Command] command post mission, but it is a core competency for controllers, so it is a huge benefit to those Airmen to be able to maintain proficiency in that area now that the missions are combined," said Lewis. "Our 42nd Airmen used to have to go through pre-deployment training on tracking aircraft, but now it is a part of day-to-day operations."

Lewis, along with Staff Sgt. Melissa Carmon, reservist and training manager for the command post, were both recognized for their work by inspectors during the 908th compliance inspection in 2012. The command post also received an excellent rating on that CI and earned the title Small Command Post of the Year for 2011 for 22nd Air Force.

"The Air Force is pushing for combined command posts at all bases with tenant units, and many of them have collocated, but we are actually integrated," said Colbert. "In fact, we're up for Small Command Post of the Year again for 2012, and I think we've got a good shot at it."