Birds of two feathers flock together

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

Many rivalries are held between firefighters and police officers nationwide, but when emergencies arise, both entities can be found running towards turmoil as a singular, lifesaving unit.

That fact stands true at Moody, and it all begins with strategic planning in a modest room of Airmen from the 23d Security Forces Squadron and 23d Civil Engineer Squadron.

Moody is one of the few Air Force installations to pair these units within the same four walls, allowing for smoother teamwork, better communication and elevated morale.

Within the room, the 23d SFS runs the Base Defense Operations Center, and the 23d CES maintains the Emergency Control Center. Both are responsible for responding to alerts and phone calls received from the local populous.

“It’s absolutely an advantage working so closely with the cops,” said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Nickeson, 23d CES NCO in charge of the Emergency Control Center. “We’re both first responders, so to be able to have this communication makes the process so much faster. We provide the base and community with such a higher level of service.”

While this may be an uncommon arrangement, it facilitates quicker response times to incidents such as building alarms, car accidents or even in-flight emergencies.

“We both play roles on an emergency scene,” said Nickeson. “To have that good working relationship so they know exactly what we want and we know what they want, and being able to bounce that off each other efficiently is a good thing.”

While there are plans, wants and needs from each unit, the strategists in the BDOC and ECC still know their level of priority to each situation.

“We work together, but we do have different jobs,” said Tech. Sgt. Emil Castro, 23d SFS bravo flight chief. “If there’s a fire, they’re going to do what they need to and they’re not going to ask us. Vice versa, if there’s a building alarm, that’s our show and if we need help from the fire department, then they’ll assist.”

Nickeson gave kudos to the cops of the BDOC, but added that on occasion, he’ll overhear their plans and offer suggestions on how to approach certain scenes due to factors like wind direction. He said without the BDOC’s trust, he couldn’t ever do that.

“In here, I work directly with their NCOIC and the dispatcher so I know exactly what their [plans] are and can relay their information out to our patrols so everything is performed in a much smoother fashion,” said Senior Airman Earl Elliot, 23d SFS BDOC controller. “Working hand-in-hand, we also get to learn some ‘gee-wiz’ knowledge and hints and tricks from each other’s career fields.”

Although it may only be seen as tips and tricks shared by the BDOC and ECC Airmen, the advice is important and in the best interest of on-scene Airmen.

Not only does the close work proximity foster smoother operational communication, but also forms friendships through day-to-day conversations.

“It’s definitely good for morale,” said Airman 1st Class Jacob Brouse, 23d CES ECC fire dispatcher. “Normally, I’d be the only one sitting back here because the NCOIC is busy taking care of what he needs to. So having the cops here, you have someone to talk to instead of being alone for 12 hours.”

Even though the 12-hour shifts may be long, these Airmen own their importance to the mission.

“Without us, there would be no peace and order [at Moody],” said Elliot. “It would be utter chaos.”