Command Post tests Yokota's recall ability during Readiness Week
published: February 23, 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."