Aviation Calendar 2009: Find 13 thrilling images of military planes, from fighter jets to aerobatic teams, from attack helicopters to battlefield UAVs. Available Exclusively through the PatriArt Gallery.
Members of the 440th Airlift Wing Command Post at Pope Air Force Base (NC) recently merged with the 43rd Airlift Wing Command Post as part of the Air Force’s continuing initiative to operate more efficiently.
Since April 1, both Reserve and active-duty controllers have been operating from the same schedule and sharing the same mission.
“We are saving time, money and resources when we train together and follow the same procedures,” said Maj. Dan George, the 440th Command Post officer in charge. “And we have complete integration of our emergency operations center, incident command structure, and command and control. We’re one of the first command posts in the Air Force to fully integrate.”
Unlike other combined command posts, those here use one training plan, one security program, one duty schedule and one pool of controllers.
“All of our controllers are ‘dual-MAJCOM’ certified,” said Master Sgt. Jeff Bello.
Reserve controllers are trained in Air Mobility Command requirements, and active duty controllers are trained in Air Force Reserve Command requirements.
“This means we can quickly respond to incidents affecting the active duty and Reserve wings,” he said. If one of the controllers needs some flexibility, another one steps in, regardless of duty status.
“That’s just how we work together — fully integrated,” he said.
The team tries to see beyond the MAJCOMS and is ahead of other units, said Maj. Glenn Rineheart, the chief of the command post.
“We are almost identical in structure, and this allows members to swap out with other shift controllers,” he said. “We run 24/7 with a high ops tempo, so it’s critical we have seamless integration.”
The Airmen are supported by five civilians and a ground liaison officer from the Army. Staff Sgt. Anthony Sadowski, with the 82nd Airborne, works as one of the Army liaison control element members.
“It helps being right here in the command post,” he said. “It’s easier to coordinate joint operations with aircrews, brief them on any plan and ensure airborne operations run smoothly.”
Pope AFB has progressive technology that has leveraged the command post’s robust operations, said Earl Russ, the command post operations manager.
“We have one of the best flightline video systems in the Air Force,” he said. “Our multiple cameras cover the entire airfield, which is more than four square miles.”
Command post members also recently added infrared technology for nighttime security. The system relies on a fiber optic “backbone” that even allows Soldiers to monitor deploying troops at Pope AFB from nearby Fort Bragg.
Inside the command post, controllers view high definition satellite televisions on five plasma displays. At any given time, they have two controllers monitoring activities around the base, making sure information flows to critical parties.
“We have more connectivity with our sister service,” Mr. Russ said. “And we’re a test base for the Guardian program, a security program designed specifically for the modern terrorist environment.”
To keep all the technology working, the command post employs a full-time information technology manager. A total of five civilians work in the command post, and all are prior service — two even served as command post superintendents.
“That’s a lot of knowledge to leverage,” Mr. Russ said. “We’ve got years of talent and corporate knowledge to glean from.”
And this talent helps because the command post here is one of the highest readiness and wartime reporting agencies in AMC, he said.
The Pope AFB Maintenance Operations Center is also located in the command post, allowing a real-time view of aircraft generation on both the active duty and Reserve sides. When combined with the command post assets, the MOC becomes a more powerful tool to leadership.
“The key to our total force integration success story is attitude,” Major Rineheart said. “The Pope command post is one unified team, and we’re in it to win it. Our active-duty Airmen have put in long hours and our reservists have stepped up in order to make our mission successful. By concentrating on our similarities and common guideposts, we’ve been able to focus on the meat of the mission and achieve success together, forging the road to the future.”
Ann Peru Knabe (AFPN)