By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 50th Civil Engineer Squadron welcomed a new emergency management flight chief who will supervise daily operations to ensure the flight performs at a high-level.
The new flight chief, Steven Reed, worked in the career field for more than 30 years, and retired from the Air Force as a chief master sergeant.
“I look forward to the challenge,” he said. “I’ve had headquarters assignments at four different [Major Commands]. Since I retired from active duty in 2007, I’ve worked in a couple of contract emergency management flights as well as the El Paso County Office of Emergency Management for a year. The idea of being a flight chief again with active duty members is exciting. I enjoy being in a mentorship role. I have a really motivated team and I’m excited about what we can do in 2020.”
The flight is currently made up of six members other than himself. Reed said he wants to equip those members with the proper training, equipment, mentorship and backing.
One of them, Airman Kaylee Christy, 50th CES Emergency Management technician, said she hopes to see Reed bring his experience into the everyday workplace by introducing Airmen to new ideas.
“In the short amount of time having Mr. Reed as our flight chief, he has made significant changes,” she said. “From the function of each individual of the shop, to the plans and procedures of our everyday job. Having a new chief brings a new set of eyes, giving us a chance to see an outside view of what we could change or improve.”
Reed said taking care of Airmen is important to him, paraphrasing Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, U.S. Space Command senior enlisted leader, “If I take care of my Airmen, they will take care of the job.”
“Having a new chief is pushing our emergency management flight toward becoming a flight that not only does what is required, but what is necessary to complete the mission in the best possible way,” Christy said.
The mission of the emergency management program is to save lives, minimize the loss or degradation of resources and continue, sustain and restore operational capability in all-hazards physical threat environments.
“Disasters don’t discriminate based on rank,” he said. “They don’t care if you’re an ‘exercise exempt’ contractor, they don’t know the difference between a family member in base housing or a civilian working in the restricted area – they hit us whether we’re ready or not. I want to make sure preparing for emergencies is not thought of as someone else’s problem and at the squadron level, the priority is to make sure we do everything we can to deploy our members with the right training to be safe and successful in a war-time theater.”
In order to ensure quality service, the flight relies on Air Force and Department of Defense doctrine while also focusing on the commander’s intent and Federal Emergency Management Agency guidance.
“Our product to our customers is information in the form of training, plans, checklists, advice etc,” Reed said. “All [of this is] intended to prepare folks to prevent, respond or recover from contingencies ranging from natural disasters to deploying Airman to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear high threat areas.”
The primary services the flight offers are: developing the installation emergency management plan, conducting all-hazards assessment for the installation, providing classes for CBRN defense, Unit Control Centers, Unit Emergency representatives, Emergency Operations Center staff, providing CBRN response capabilities to the incident commander and coordinating with the wing inspection team to ensure base exercises match the flight’s plans.
“Human nature sometimes prevents us from relating to things we haven’t experienced,” Reed said. “If you’ve never deployed to a CBRN high-threat environment, it’s hard to appreciate the importance of your protective mask. If you’ve never slid off the side of an icy road, it may be hard to convince you to have sand or a shovel in your car. Our goal is to build a resilient Schriever community without you having to experience a disaster.”