AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
Every base has them, the windowless rooms and buildings filled with computers, telephones and radios. What goes on behind those walls may be some of the most important communications base wide.
“As Command Post, you are operating in a windowless environment,” said Tech. Sgt. Monica Anaya, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Command Post training manager.
The command post is a hub of incoming and outgoing communications on any base 24/7. They are the central communication liaison between agencies and personnel such as major commands, commanders, first sergeants, Air Force Red Cross, and base agencies for Airmen base wide.
Both the Giant Voice system and the AtHoc alerts that come across your electronic devices are all initiated by the command post. The mass notification system is a very important part of what they do day to day. Notifications currently seen daily here are flag conditions and weather notifications, but the systems provide so much more.
"Whether it’s testing natural disaster responses or providing real-world Mission Oriented Protective Posture level changes, the quick reaction and decisive response are vital to base populace survivability," said Master Sgt. Crystal Moronta, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Command Post superintendent.
“(The mass notification system) can be the difference between life and death if we don’t get the information out there fast,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Miller, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Command Post controller.
“If there’s an emergency situation that happens we’re the ones that get the ball rolling,” said Anaya.
“Everybody is affected by what we do on a daily basis,” said Miller. “If you aren’t getting information from us, you’re getting it at a delayed time. We are going to be the first ones to know.”
Command post personnel not only spend their time monitoring systems for real world threats, they also provide support for aircrew and transient aircraft.
“Here at Al Dhafra, most of the time we are talking to aircrew and helping with coordination,” said Anaya.
There is no doubt that the Airmen working the Al Dhafra Air Base Command Post feel the effects of their mission every day.
“Every radio call, phone call, or email that comes in, I feel like we are helping support and get things moving along. (We) provide support to everyone,” said Anaya.
“Sometimes you lose scope of the mission, but here you feel like you are part of the mission,” said Miller. “Everybody is intertwined. Maybe because it’s a smaller base, maybe because you’re deployed, but all in all, I feel like I’m more involved.”
“Being closer to the mission is rewarding,” said Moronta. “Watching the Airmen in action doing their job, supporting the war fighting effort is an awesome thing. Also, we are afforded the opportunity to have Guardsmen working side by side with Active Duty personnel and the synergistic teamwork is amazing.”
“The best part about being deployed here,” Moronta continued, “is observing and supporting all our brothers and sisters in uniform and watching the military machine do work!”