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Whiteman Command Post sets the standard

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kelly Ferguson
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The 131st Bomb Wing Command Post team, along with several of its members, earned accolades during the 2023 Air National Guard Command and Control (C2) Operations Annual Awards.

The awards recognize both Air National Guard (ANG) and regular Air Force elements of Whiteman Air Force Base’s Command Post team. The Guard component was awarded the C2 Operations Training Recognition Award and the Small Installation C2 Operations Node of the year. The active component was awarded the C2 Operations Training Team of the year and the Large Installation C2 Operations Node of the Year.

In addition to the team awards, U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Ashlea G. Woolverton, 131st BW Command Post superintendent, NC2 Operations, was awarded the C2 Operations SNCO of the Year.

The Command Post serves as the nerve center of Whiteman and provides command and support functions for its day-to-day operations. One of the unique aspects of the Whiteman Command Post is that total force Airmen work together as part of a fully-integrated work environment. The team comprises active-duty members with the 509th Bomb Wing and ANG members with the 131st Bomb Wing.

“When people from other commands and bases see the way our team operates, they are floored,” said Woolverton. “This is the only ANG Command Post that is 100% embedded with active duty. We must, and we do, perform at a higher level.”

The Whiteman Command Post is a prime example of Total Force Integration in which active duty and Air National Guardsmen work side by side, constantly training and learning together. Each Command Post member is subjected to continuous testing and knowledge checks and is well aware of the cost of losing their certifications. It is for this reason that service members within the Command Post must be highly driven and hard working. 

Operating at such a high level in the Command Post environment does not come without its burdens. The job can come at the cost of personal care and family time. This is why the service members who fill these roles are monitored regularly for mental and physical well-being, and leaders have created a shop in which continuity is maintained by caring for each other and engaging in open communication.  

“We share and communicate not just about the job, but about home and family,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. April C. Osborn, 509th Bomb Wing, NCOIC NC2 ops training and quality assurance. “There is no difference in treatment or training between active and Air Guard. Working through weekends and holidays is a shared burden. If something comes up, we all rearrange the schedule to help whoever needs it. We prioritize our peoples’ mental health and emotional well-being.”

The C2 training program developed at Whiteman enables each service member, regardless of rank, to fill multiple roles within Whiteman’s Command Post team. Woolverton, who jokingly refers to the team as “Chaos Coordinators,” said this ability to cover for each other provides stability in a potentially chaotic environment.

Woolverton states that when she first started working at the Whiteman Command Post morale wasn’t as positive as it today. Because of this, Woolverton pushed hard for a shift in priorities in Command Post, to one that centered more on cohesion through communication within the team.

“I remember when the Global Strike Inspector General was visiting and he said that the Whiteman Command Post had some of the best morale he’d ever seen,” said Woolverton. “We live our lives through cameras and computers and tend to be pretty tucked away, so we focus hard on taking care of our people. Now people are starting to notice that the way we do business here works really well. If you take care of the people and their families, the mission will be more successful and more able to take care of itself.”