Emerge Moody witnesses, tackles challenges of wing staff agencies

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Emerge Moody kicked off the new year on Jan. 5, 2017, with an intense tour of the 23d Wing Staff Agencies and the 23d Comptroller Squadron, taking an intimate look at what a few of the 15 agencies provide for Moody.

Our morning began with a quick introduction from the 23d Wing Director of Staff, Lt Col Jeffrey Barker, where he explained his job in directing the “collective identity” that is the Wing Staff Agencies, and how critical each of the 15 agencies are.

Before digging in to a few of the individual agencies, we made a detour to the 23d Comptroller Squadron, to gain a better appreciation for finance and there mission. I was very surprised to find out the age of the system finance is required to work with. Using a 30-year old system definitely has its hardships, however, I was impressed by SrA William Price, Debt Management Monitor, and his knowledge of the system and the process taken when he needs to update an airmen’s information, as well as his drive to take care of airmen and provide a positive customer service.

The first agency on our tour was the chapel. We met with Maj. Roland Reitz, Deputy Wing Chaplain, and his team of chaplains and chaplain assistants. It was a very open and welcoming forum in which we were able to engage with our spiritual leaders to learn more about the services they provide. Emerge Moody member, TSgt Netasha Hutto-Harris, was grateful for the experience.

“I truly appreciated learning that the chaplains on base ensure they have relationship ties to the community regarding any faith not normally offered on Moody, to guarantee that they are available to our Airmen and their families” said Hutto-Harris. “We are a diverse military, and our chaplain corps wanting to guarantee everyone receives what they need is very comforting.”

Next, we dove in to public affairs. Many people, including myself, see public affairs as the people who come to take photos for various events. Although that is part of their duty, their mission is much deeper than I imagined. It was insightful to see just how expansive the scope of their mission is, and how much responsibility they have. From global influence and deterrence of the enemy, airman morale and readiness, to public trust and support from the American people and advice and counsel to senior leadership, public affairs does it all to portray the message from an Air Force perspective.

“If we don’t, someone else will”, said Capt. Korey Fratini, Chief of Public Affairs.

Wing plans and programs was our next stop. Here, we were briefed on the different entities of the organization and how involved each one is with anything that goes on in the wing. From various Air Combat Command taskings, and checklists, to unit command and control and maintaining Patriot Excalibur, or PEX. This is software that the flying squadrons use to schedule aircraft and personnel commitments, and manage their training and programs.

Our last visit before lunch was to the command post. The process of getting through not one, but two locked doors and requiring specific clearance just to get in to the command post, was more than enough to show us how important this location is. When we were all finally in, we got see the setup for the crisis action team and where each senior leader on base sat whenever the CAT is convened for a given crisis. We were shown the emergency action cell, as well, and learned their central position and responsibility during any emergency.

Next, we were treated to a casual, yet informative lunch with both Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing Commander, and CMSgt Jarrod Sebastian, 23d Wing Command Chief. It’s apparent the drive from these two individuals to do everything in their power to care for the airmen and families of Moody, while still accomplishing the 23d Wing’s mission. Specifically, I noticed how much effort they make to save airmen’s most valued possession, which is time, before they even arrive to the base.

The ending to our day, was much more practical in nature by receiving a two-part experience of an active shooter exercise. We were first given roles of senior leadership and other entities to play in the CAT during the exercise. We were not alone though. Many of Moody’s senior leaders were there with us to answer the questions we had and to offer different viewpoints that they each bring to CAT.

TSgt Rebecca Smen, Emerge Moody member, said it best when she said that she “gained respect for our commanders and other executive leaders while in the CAT. I've always known they have a wide variety of responsibilities and vast amount of knowledge to make daily decisions, but seeing how involved they have to be with the CAT impressed me a great deal. Not only do they have to know their unit and all the intricate parts of operations within and after a crisis, but also how the other units intertwine with responsibilities and how we support and affect each other. We truly are ‘One Team, One Fight’.”

After a successful simulated media interview from fellow Emerge Moody member, TSgt Bradley Tykoski, who was playing the prestigious role of the Wing Commander, we progressed to the legal office where we witnessed a mock court trial of the accused active shooter. A few of us volunteered to either play roles as witness, victim, or trial and defense counsel, while others had the task of jury duty. It was intense just watching the proceeding unfold, as witnesses and the defendant were called forward and cross examined. Finally, the jury of our peers went to a separate room to deliberate upon the evidence provided. Ultimately, the defendant was found not guilty based on a self-defense theory and the defense celebrated a job well done.

Our Emerge Moody Wing Staff Agency day was a long, but a very informative journey. We continue to gain a new found perspective of each organization here on Moody, and look forward to the rest that this program has to offer.