JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Shrouded in secrecy and concealed within the heart of the air base, there is an office playing a pivotal role in directing operations for Joint Base Charleston.
Working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they remain on duty for any emergencies or contingencies that might arise and are usually the first to field the call.
Airmen assigned to the 628th Air Base Wing Command Post connect, direct and enable communications for the entire joint base. They ensure accurate information reaches commanders, enabling them to make informed decisions in support of the mission, and then relay directed actions or information out to base personnel.
“The command post is the sole command-and-control node for all of Joint Base Charleston,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Uppling, 628th ABW Command Post. “They monitor the status of all Department of Defense units and assets in the area.”
Joint Base Charleston offers a unique assignment experience for command post Airmen. They support multiple flying wings, Air Force and Army reserve units, and a weapons station that includes a nuclear submarine training facility and a major DoD shipping port.
“Some jobs can feel mundane, but for us, we never know what to expect out of a shift,” Uppling said. “Every day, no matter how long you’ve been doing it, can surprise you.”
Airmen in the command post do a lot more than just answer calls and put out alerts, though. Often, they’re the last line of defense in saving lives.
“There can be times where people will call us and it is a very sensitive matter,” said Tech. Sgt. Kyle Morales, 628th ABW Command Post operations NCO-in-charge. “You have to point them in the right direction and act quickly because they could be compromised.”
They’re often the ones who deliver bad news, as well.
Technical Sgt. Britney Murray, 628th ABW Command Post command-and-control operations NCOIC of quality assurance, reminisces on a call that has remained with her throughout her career.
“I was logging into shift, and I hear security forces call out over the net,” Murray said. “I was responsible for calling in commanders and having to tell them that a member has passed away. I didn’t know the individual, but it felt very close to home, the memory just sticks with me.”
When asked how each team member finds value in their work, the responses all came back to being able to help people.
“My favorite part of the job is being able to leverage my entire career’s worth of experience and using that to take care of Airmen – giving them the tools they need to do their best, and advocating for what they need,” Uppling said.
Through relentless, 24/7 commitment, the command post is able to communicate effectively and ensure the personnel of Joint Base Charleston stay informed and ultimately achieve mission objectives.
“Our folks are here on all weekends, holidays, and down days,” Uppling said. “We are always here; we are always doing the mission.”