Underground, but still on top

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Ted Daigle
  • 307th Bomb Wing

In the sports world, the term “cellar dweller” refers to those teams that finish in last place year after year. While the 307th Bomb Wing command post team literally works in an underground office at Barksdale Air Force Base, their performance in 2019 showed they have nothing to do with finishing last.  

In fact, the group took top honors for 2019, winning in three Air Force Reserve Command categories, including Small Nuclear C2 Operations of the Year, C2 Operations Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, and C2 Operations Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.

The Barksdale Air Force Base command post is tucked away in a nondescript basement, but it serves as the installation’s nerve center, providing information for everything from weather notifications to nuclear deterrence.

Senior Master Sgt. Melissa Kitchens, 307th CP superintendent and AFRC’s 2019 Senior NCO of the Year, sees working in the command post as both vital and fulfilling.

“It’s very rewarding, because there are so many things we can do in this job,” said Kitchens. “I enjoy letting people know what’s going on and letting our commanders know so they can make informed decisions.”

The ability to gain and disseminate that information quickly hinges on a total force enterprise arrangement between the 307th Bomb Wing CP and their active-duty counterparts in the 2nd Bomb Wing CP.   

The teams are fully integrated on a daily basis to accomplish the mission, explained Kitchens.

“We have a very tight-knit relationship and a very good group of people, so these awards are everyone’s awards,” she said. 

The nuclear mission of both the 307th BW and 2nd BW add another dimension of information management for the Barksdale CP.  It is this aspect that Tech. Sgt. Clint Melancon said he finds most intriguing.

Melancon won AFRC’s command post NCO of the Year and works directly with the installation’s Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal, a secure ground messaging terminal designed to withstand a nuclear event.

The Global ASNT provides the command post the ability to receive emergency action messages, which are then relayed to bomber, tanker and reconnaissance aircrews for action.

“I’m so interested in the system, I just tend to put 110 percent into it,” said Melancon. “To me it’s just exciting.”

The 307th Bomb Wing CP is no stranger to success.  The group has won AFRC’s Small Command Post of the Year in 2008, 2013 and 2015, managing to stay on top of their profession, even as they work underground.