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EOC proves vital in BH 08-3

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Marasky
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
The Emergency Operations Center proved to be as important to 18th Wing Operations during Local Operational Readiness Exercise Beverly High 08-03 as the heart is to the human body.

As the exercise tests Team Kadena's ability to survive and operate in a wartime environment, it's the base EOC team that controls just how effectively the base is able to do that.

"Essentially, we are the command and control for the wing," said Lt. Col. Dwayne Thomas, 718th Civil Engineer Squadron commander and EOC manager. "Anything and everything on Kadena is controlled by the EOC and its team members."

Throughout exercise, the EOC's mettle was tested as it directed the wing response to events such as elevated alarm and MOPP levels, suspicious packages, simulated missile attacks and protest activity.

"The EOC is critical in any type of scenario, exercise or real world," said Colonel Thomas. "It's how we disseminate information and keep people informed."

The EOC team is comprised of representatives from every squadron and group, picked for their skill and professionalism to work inside the center.

In a given attack scenario, the EOC unit representatives work with each other and their units to respond to the situation and provide information up and down the chain.

For example, representatives from 18th Security Forces may work to coordinate the cordon of an area that has been attacked, while members of the 18th Medical Group send emergency medical responders to the scene, and 18th Civil Engineers dispatch fire department personnel.

Once the scene is secured and stabilized, the EOC may dispatch CE structural teams to verify the condition of buildings and personnel from the 18th Contracting Squadron may be directed to begin working on contracts with local companies for quick repair of facilities and infrastructure.

"I think it's [the EOC] vital," said Staff Sgt. Erreca Berry, EOC rep for the 18th Comptroller Squadron. "Without the EOC reps, there's no communication between the battle staff and the unit control centers. Without us, the base would be left largely in the dark."

That understanding and enthusiasm for the job doesn't escape those in leadership positions within the EOC.

"I have a very high level of confidence for those who work here," said Colonel Thomas. "They are consummate professionals. Squadron commanders pick their best to work in here, so we get the best of the best."