Command Post never sleeps, never takes holidays off

Staff Sgt. Kennecia Williams, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post NCOIC of records, works on the Strategic Automated Command Control system, Dec. 11 at Whiteman Air Force Base. The Command Post team works throughout the holidays, as well as all directed Family Days. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Montse Belleau) (Released)

Staff Sgt. Kennecia Williams, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post NCOIC of records, works on the Strategic Automated Command Control system while Staff Sgt. Crystal Salierno, 509th BW/CP training manager, answers a phone call Dec. 11. The Command Post team works throughout the holidays, as well as directed Family Days. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Montse Belleau) (Released)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- A military base is like a human body, with different offices fulfilling different - yet equally vital - roles, keeping the base alive and working properly.

Just like the brain is constantly working to regulate and inform the rest of the body, the 509th Bomb Wing Command Post never sleeps, working 24/7, 365 days a year, continuously keeping information flowing up and down to the appropriate Air Force agency.

"All of the Airmen within the Command Post are very hard workers," said Staff Sgt. Crystal Salierno, 509th Bomb Wing Command Post training manager. "We have a very stringent schedule of exercises and inspections. Even with our hectic schedule, our morale is high; we are like a family."

The family-oriented shop stays close by working 12-hour shifts every day of the year, even through the holidays. Down days, whether directed by the secretary of the Air Force or the base commander, do not apply to the CP controllers, either.

"It can be difficult at times having to work on the holidays and not be with our families," Salierno said. "Our management does a great job of working the schedules so that if a controller works one holiday, they will try their best to give him/her the next holiday off."

Staff Sgt. Kennecia Williams, 509th BW/CP NCOIC of records, also understand and implements the "service before self" core value.

"Working through the holidays is disappointing at times," she said. "Having been in the Command Post career field for 11 years, I have grown accustomed to the hours and responsibilities the duty requires of me."

Without the Command Post, commanders would be unable to access information and receive real-time updates to operations and situations occurring on base, directly impacting their ability to accomplish the mission. The information and messages received in and shared by the Command Post are crucial to the mission's success.

"We [inform] the base populace of all notifications, from weather to an on-base attack," Salierno said. "All information regarding the base flows through us to the appropriate agency."

In addition to enabling Whiteman leadership, the hard work all 16 personnel in the Command Post have put in has led to well-deserved recognition.

The Command Post won the Command Post of the Year award in 2010, and took home multiple awards from Air Force Global Strike Command, including Senior NCO of the Year, awarded to Master Sgt. Jennifer Lyons, and NCO of the Year, presented to Salierno.

Part of the job is consistent preparation and training. For example, to ensure their operational readiness, the CP controllers must take a closed-book test every month, which they must pass with a 90-percent score or greater.

"We rely on our professionalism, discipline and teamwork to perform our mission with excellence," Salierno said.

(Editor's Note: This feature is part of a five-part series entitled "Working through the Holidays," highlighting Whiteman Airmen and units who continue to perform the mission throughout the holiday season.)