BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
The Barksdale Air Force Base Command Post was named Best Small Command Post in the Air Force for 2020 earlier this month, the second year in a row it has won a service-wide award.
This accolade followed the command post’s designation as Best Large Command Post in 2019, underscoring their Total Force Integration efforts.
The Barksdale AFB Command Post was able to notch two Air Force-wide victories in two different categories because they are comprised of two separate entities: the active-duty 2nd Bomb Wing and the 307th Bomb Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit.
But the separation is only on paper. In reality, the total force integration of the two units makes them a seamless fighting force, according to Senior Master Sgt. Anthony James, 2nd BW Command Post superintendent.
“We tap into each other’s strengths to ensure we didn’t see ourselves as different factions,” said James. “We just look at one another as all part of the same team.”
That sense of team pride and strong performance all hinges on good communication explained Senior Master Sgt. Melissa Kitchens, the 307th BW command post superintendent.
“We are constantly communicating with each other so that our commanders have the best information available to make tough decisions,” Kitchens explained. “It comes down to having their trust and being a valuable part of the mission.”
That trust is important because the command post is Barksdale’s communication nerve center, handling every incoming message, including those from the highest levels of command.
“We play a key role in how presidential directives are disseminated," said James. “So, any nuclear orders that might be given come through us first.”
Those directives often require command post Airmen to advise commanders directly on the best course of action to take in the event of an emergency, so the strong communication must be augmented by good training.
“You might have a young Airman advising a commander on how to best initiate a crisis action team based on the information he has,” said James. “We have to provide our Airmen with on-going training to ensure they are ready for that type of scenario.”
James said the awards are nice, but they point to a more important fact.
“Our Airmen in the command post are flourishing and getting ready to build the next generation,” he said.