Getting to know Luke’s Command Post

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nestor Cruz
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Some people may not have a completely clear picture of what various base agencies bring to the Luke mission. One such agency is the command post.

Luke’s command post is in two locations, however, they are considered one team and one unit. The primary location is administratively owned by the 56th Fighter Wing and the alternate site is housed at the 944th Fighter Wing.

“People refer to us as ‘the other command post’ when actually there is only one command post at Luke,” said Master Sgt. Laura Kain, 944th FW command post acting superintendent. “We’re one and that’s really how we operate across the board. It’s an important distinction to make as part of the Total Force Integration mindset.”

So what exactly is the function of the base command post?

“We are the eyes and ears for the wing commander for whatever is happening on the installation or with our assets in our area of responsibility,” Kain said. “Whenever there’s an emergency, we’re responsible for making sure all appropriate agencies are aware so potential support can be assembled as needed.”

Command Post Airmen take pride in their special function for team Luke.

“Being the communication hub for both the Reserve and Active Duty wings at Luke is the most important aspect of our job,” said Tech. Sgt. Nikala Batts, 944th FW command post noncommissioned officer in charge of C2 operations training. “We are on watch 24/7 and it is our job to ensure units relay pertinent information to wing leaders as quickly and as accurately as possible.”

As the base communication hub, command post is tasked with ensuring all important information is forwarded to the appropriate offices.

“One of our primary responsibilities is up-channeling reports to headquarters,” said Kain. “We ensure the commander has all the information he needs and that information is included in the report.”

Working at command post encompasses several elements, just like other duty sections around the base.

“There are many facets to the job,” said Kain. “We’re also the responsible agency for readiness reporting. We don’t necessarily own the readiness stats, we just facilitate it. We’re the ‘master facilitator’ of all things.”

Although command post is considered one unit, Reserve Citizen Airmen encounter unique challenges.

“One of our ongoing challenges is being able to balance mission needs with personal development,” Kain said. “We have the same requirements as our active duty counterparts to maintain our proficiency for classified and scenario testing, but while active duty Airmen have the entire month to do it, we have two days.”

Command Post Airmen must also clock in a minimum of four hours as console operators to maintain certification. The challenge is getting those hours in addition to other obligations.

“Accomplishing those four hours during [Unit Training Assembly] doesn’t sound like a lot but when you pack everything else into the weekend such as physical fitness testing, professional military education, and required readiness items, it gets really challenging to strike that balance,” said Kain.

Despite those challenges, Kain said there is always support for all aspects in the life of a Reserve Citizen Airman.

“Our counterparts at the 56th are super helpful and they truly understand the demands of our drill weekends,” she said. “Administratively we belong to the 944th but we’re also part of something bigger on this base and I think that’s really cool.”

Command Post is a great example of Total Force Integration, bringing together Reserve and Active Duty Airmen to seamlessly maintain a critical support function for the base.

“We fully integrate into the 56th Fighter Wing schedule whenever we’re on duty,” said Kain. “It’s a great TFI relationship.”