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Command Post functions as information hub, facilitates mission execution

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sara Kolinski
  • 104th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

On an Air National Guard Base such as Barnes, it is vital for the success of the mission for everyone to work cohesively: from the different teams, flights and squadrons, all the way up to the groups and wing. Command post plays a key role in ensuring that the wing operates smoothly, functioning as the focal point for all information entering and leaving base as well as throughout it.

“The three main points of our job are figuring out what do we know, who needs to know it, and do they know it,” said Master Sgt. Robert Ollquist, 104th Fighter Wing command post training Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge.

Command post controllers carry out a variety of tasks including monitoring systems, briefing commanders and pilots, ensuring proper function of communication equipment, taking the proper actions in case of incidents on and off base affecting the mission, and notifying external agencies of on-base events. Their job incorporates a lot of behind the scenes work and is more than just being the voice of on-base announcements, said Ollquist.

“When incidents occur on base we ensure that the proper authorities on base are aware of the situation,” said Ollquist. “We also notify higher headquarters if the incident meets the reporting requirements for those agencies. When we receive messages from higher headquarters we ensure that point of contacts on base that need to know, know.”

A lot of factors can affect what command post controllers do on a day to day basis. When incidents occur such as injuries, accidents, or threats, the command post has to be ready to react. They figure out if the incident is reportable, and follow the proper channels to confirm a continuous smooth execution of the mission.

“Our most important tasks have to do with emergencies,” said Ollquist. “Whether it’s informing the installation of an active shooter event, being trained how to perform an active air scramble, or processing an operational order activating members of the 104 FW command post to support domestic operations, our task is to get the information out to save and protect lives.”

Staff Sgt. Chelsey Potter, 104 FW command post controller, said that days can easily shift from a standard schedule to a busy day with a single incident.

“Being full time, anything can happen,” said Potter. “We have to be proactive and reactive because we are the ones that notify the base populace of any emergency incident. Their safety is our highest priority. It is great knowing we are responsible for such an important part of the mission.”