News>Command Post tests Yokota's recall ability during Readiness Week
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Senior Airman Jesus Calderon, 374th Airlift Wing Command Post emergency action controller, conducts a recall during a wing readiness week at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2013. The early-morning recall tested the wing’s ability to mobilize quickly in the event of a crisis, a key component of being prepared. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Christopher Love)
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Technical Sgt. Kinnard Woods, 374th Airlift Wing Command Post NCO in charge of console operations, scans a checklist used to recall the base during emergencies Feb. 22, 2013, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. As the first people to learn of key events and assignments coming from off base, command post operators funnel this information to senior leaders, so they can make decisions affecting their organization. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Christopher Love)
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Tech. Sgt. Kinnard Woods, 374th Airlift Wing Command Post NCO of console operations, relays information during a wing-wide recall at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2013. The recall is one many events planned to test Yokota’s abilities during an ongoing readiness week. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Christopher Love)
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Col. Mark August, 374th Airlift Wing commander, reviews a simulated emergency message hours before sunrise Feb. 22, 2013, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Based on information relayed by 374th Airlift Wing Command Post personnel, senior leaders at the wing and 5th Air Force make decisions affecting their units’ mission and defensive posture. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Christopher Love)
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – From left to right, Senior Master Sgt. Donald Hoobler, 374th Airlift Wing Command Post superintendent, debriefs Tech. Sgt. Kinnard Woods and Senior Airmnn Jesus Calderon, CP operators, following their execution of a wing recall Feb. 22, 2013, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. The recall came as a part of a readiness week designed to test Yokota’s ability to provide professional airlift, while defending and maintaining the sole U.S. airlift hub in the Western Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Christopher Love)
by 1st Lt. Christopher Love
374th Airlift Wing/Public Affairs
2/22/2013 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The sun was still hours away from rising when Senior Airmen Jesus Calderon, 374th Airlift Wing Command Post emergency action controller and Tucson, Arizona native, picked up the phone and began to dial.
A minute later, he was talking with Yokota's wing commander, a man responsible for maintaining the 12,000-person installation which serves as the sole U.S. airlift hub in the Western Pacific. The command post had received an urgent message, Calderon said; the boss would need to come review it--and soon.
So began day two of Yokota's readiness week, a nine-day stretch from Feb. 21 - March 1, 2013, designed to test the wing's ability to respond to the unexpected in its ongoing task of providing professional airlift while defending and maintaining "the best wing in the Pacific."
This particular event simulated a classified message coming down from a higher headquarters off base, prompting wing leadership to initiate an early-morning recall, confer and determine the base's defensive posture.
"We will be the first to know," said Senior Master Sgt. Donald Hoobler, 374 AW/CP superintendent, regarding urgent messages coming from off base.
"From that point, we take the commander's direction and funnel it up--all the way to the president, if needed," he said. During Hoobler's 21-year career, this has happened more than once.
As the information node not only for the 374 AW but also for 5th Air Force, Yokota's CP is responsible for relaying urgent messages across Japan.
"We have a big responsibility," said Maj. Ricardo Lopez, 374 AW/CP chief, "but our Airmen handle it with professionalism."
For Calderon, who had the task of notifying the wing's senior leader of the incoming message, this wasn't his first significant challenge. While recently deployed to Kyrgyztan, he helped run the command post during a drawdown of 33 thousand U.S. forces from the region, he said.
The job entailed "flight following" every inbound and outbound aircraft and responding to alerts, all on top of his normal duties as an emergency action controller. "We kept busy," Calderon said.
Tech. Sgt. Kinnard Woods, 374 AW/CP non-commissioned officer in charge of console operations and manager for the morning's recall, spoke highly of the Airman under his watch.
"Calderon has good experience and can anticipate," he said.
"Such experience and anticipation are a boon to any command post," said Hoobler, "where timeliness and smart decision making are key."