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NEWS | May 17, 2021

633d Air Base Wing command post Airmen visit Felker Army Airfield

By Staff Sgt. Joshua Magbanua 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 633d Air Base Wing command post visited Felker Army Airfield on Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Feb. 7. 2021, to catch a big-picture glimpse of their daily operations.

The command post Airmen received an educational brief from the airfield’s safety manager, visited the air traffic control tower and got an up-close tour of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

“It felt great to be on the tour,” said Senior Airman Brianna Carter, 633d ABW command post senior controller. “I got to see what other agencies do, especially for the Army side of things. I know we’re a joint base, but we don’t really get to see what the Army is doing. So as Air Force members, we got to see more.”

According to the Air Force recruiting website, the base command post is the central command point for mission operations. Command post specialists ensure operations and communications run efficiently and effectively under any circumstance.

“Our job is basically dependent on the information we receive from other agencies,” said Carter, who helped coordinate the event. “We are responsible for relaying that information to wing leadership. This visit gave me a chance to understand what is happening. It was an eye-opener basically.”

Felker provides DoD aircrews with a well-equipped airfield for mission support and training. The airfield serves as a base for the research, test and development of rotary wing technology within the Army. Felker’s location along the James River creates an ideal environment for continuous rotary wing training.

Teddy Harlow, the airfield’s safety manager, described Felker as a perfect example of a joint mission: an airfield on an Air Force-owned installation serving helicopters from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

“It’s as [joint] as you can get,” Harlow said, adding that the Navy is the airfield’s biggest customer. “The unique rotary wing training facilities we have at Felker are vital to Navy MH-60 and MH-53 aircrew qualification training based out of Norfolk, Virginia. With the impact of the research and development conducted here and the pilots’ that train here, we know that Felker has played a big part in our country’s Global War on Terrorism. At one point during the GWOT, we were the third busiest Army airfield in all theaters.”

Harlow, who provided the educational briefing during the command post visit, emphasized the importance of coordination between the airfield and command post. He briefly described the teamwork both entities would conduct in emergency situations.

“If there’s a situation, such as an aircraft mishap, Felker Airfield first responders and operations experts initially respond and report the incident to the command post in order to get the ball rolling within a tight 15-minute operational reporting window,” Harlow said. “In turn, this provides the Airfield managers the flexibility to focus directly on the incident while the command post takes on the role of the go-between agency for the impacted unit and Headquarters Air Force.”

Carter was grateful to have visited the airfield, describing it as a rare but enlightening experience not only for her but also for the teammates she brought along.