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Staff Sgt. Tyler Bush, senior emergency action controller, demonstrates the Giant Voice System. It is a part of the Installation Notification Warning System, which allows controllers to inform the base populace of emergency situations that require immediate action such as alarm conditions, FPCON/INFOCON changes and natural disaster warnings. (U. S. Air Force photo by Ed Aspera)
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An array of responsibilities: Robins Command Post has eyes on it all

Posted 6/20/2014   Updated 6/20/2014 Email story   Print story


by Brian Shreve
Robins Public Affairs

6/20/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Robins is a bustling place to say the least, and the 78th Air Base Wing Command Post is the know-all, catch-all cornerstone at the center of all the action.

With a mission to alert, direct, execute and report, there is no incident too big or small for them to handle. The facility supports the entire installation with operations and training affecting four major commands - a heavy role that distinguishes Robins' command post from others around the Air Force.

Perhaps that is why it was recognized by Air Force Materiel Command, winning the Large Command Post of the Year award - marking the first time Robins has won the prize.

"Usually at a base, you only work with one MAJCOM," said Lt. Col. Minh Do, 78th Command Post chief. "But we support so many partners, having so many on one installation. I think the diversity of missions and our personnel helped get us the award. But it was a surprise for us as well."

Including Do, the organization consists of 19 personnel who direct operational reports and briefings to senior leaders, MAJCOM centers, the AF Service Watch Cell and National Military Command Center.

Receiving and processing Emergency Action Messages, it is their job to analyze and report just about every situation on base, ranging from minor instances to deaths, chemical spills, inclement weather and larger emergencies.

In other words, these are the people behinds the scenes, manning the "giant voice" whenever vital communication is warranted at Robins.

"We cover a full spectrum of incidents," said Do. "Even if somebody calls security forces about someone scratching their car, we receive it as well and ensure necessary personnel are notified. If there's a gate closing or sonic boom, we handle that, too. We do pretty much everything here, and it has to be done quickly."

Yes, timeliness is a sensitive cornerstone here.

From the time of notification of on an occurrence, the command post has a 15-minute window to obtain senior leader approval, get word to headquarters or notify the entire base, then an hour to deliver a written operational report in detail.

With so much on its plate, Do said the biggest challenge the organization faces is stress, particularly the uncertainty of the future. With last year's furloughs and recent budget cuts, the command post, like other organizations, is "doing more with less people," and the staff has to sacrifice at times.

Working 12-hour shifts, weekends and nights, they are tired, he added, especially considering they can't exactly take leave any time they want.

"And they are the key - the people," he said. "They work hard 24/7. We work together as a family to make sure we find ways to keep morale high to give our people needed time with family and friends."

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