When airlift missions go as planned, the results are smooth take offs, on-time departures and a protected airspace, due in part to the 452nd command post, whose personnel remain vigilant in providing 24/7 information and support to the base and the surrounding communities.
“The command post is the central nervous system on base with information and communications for missions coming through us,” said Master Sgt. Januari Smithwick, superintendent, 452nd command post. “We filter it out and provide the appropriate coordination for successful missions.”
In the past year, the command post has received exemplary recognition for improvements made to the unit.
“Passing every inspection we’ve had in the past year, from various governing agencies, in which we provide support, has been the accomplishment of our increased manpower,” said Maj. M. Lee Ehlert, chief, 452nd command post. “The help of gaining traditional reservists was instrumental in assisting with manning issues, we went from four controllers to ten, which has helped us improve across the board.”
In addition to passing all of their inspections, the increased manning has also helped the command post provide a more proactive approach and all missions are more robust.
“Our increased training, in the last year, keeps us combat ready,” said Ehlert. “We have a no-fail mission, so it’s imperative that the controllers can execute their jobs flawlessly.”
The command post is one agency on base that works around the clock, and although they remain behind closed, secure doors, they serve as the eyes and ears for the base. They receive classified information and emergency action messages that they need to accurately report to the commander so he is able to make appropriate and timely decisions, Smithwick said.
On any given day, the staff receives calls ranging from alien reports to unruly passengers on airline flights or planes entering the airspace.
“Our days are very diverse, for example, we may need to alert F-16’s to engage a plane who comes into the airspace unauthorized or coordinate tankers to provide fuel support,” said Senior Master Sgt. Chad Quilausing, controller, 452nd command post.
They also have aircraft on alert, that if notified to respond to a heightened threat status, will support and protect, Smithwick said.
In addtion, the command post works hand-in-hand with the maintenance control center, air terminal control center, crew support, fire department and security forces, providing day-to-day, 24-hour coordination and communication.
“The information we process and handle is vital to national security and homeland defense,” said Quilausing.
The impact the command post has on the base is huge and their controllers have to remain vigilant, well trained and versed in their job, said Ehlert.
“I am proud to be part of the command post team and to witness its growth. We have come so far in a short amount of time and there’s nothing this team can’t do,” she said.