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Dave

One More Shift

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Tomorrow is my last 12 hour shift in the Tinker AFB Command Post. It has been an interesting 2 years that’s for sure. When I got here in Feb of 2006 I had just retrained into this career field. My tech school was short and Tinker was a culture shock compare to what I learned at Keesler AFB just a few weeks earlier. My training took until May of 2006 and I became a certified junior controller. As a junior controller basically my job was to do what the senior controller told me too. Having said that, all the senior controllers, I out ranked, but that didn't bother me one bit taking orders from an E-4 or E-5. They had the knowledge and I was a noob. In fact I was fortunate to have been paired with SSgt Joe Ramirez; he got me on the right path on how to do business in the Command Post world. You see in the CP world, most places you are paired with another person. SSgt Ramirez and I were paired up for almost a year. You want to talk about a controller team that clicked. He and I had several crisis situations and exercises we went through and were able to know what the other was doing without even saying a word. I will never forget 6 Jun 2006, him and I got on shift at about 0630, and if it could go wrong it did. We had 3 civilians assigned to Tinker who all passed away the night before, so that required 3 operational reports sent up to higher headquarters, all within a certain amount of time. Then we had some aircraft damage that was discovered so that was another report. Then they dropped an exercise on us and I had to run that while SSgt Ramirez was working on those reports. So while all this is going on I have an inspector standing over my shoulder watching me run the exercise. He commented that it was odd that we hardly spoke a word to each other yet everything flowed "flawlessly". I call that a damn good team. By the end of the day, we had done 6 operational reports and ran the exercise without a hitch.

 

Aug 2006 we did a deployment exercise to our field location. Full chem gear, the works and it was over 100 each day. We had no proper equipment, as the CP never did this kind of exercise before. It was a first and we were making it up as we went along. We were out there for 3 days and I lost 10lbs. But it was fun being aggressed, activating the warning sirens for incoming gas attacks, directing and coordinating all the battle staff actions. Afterwards the vice wing king gave SSgt Ramirez and I high praise for how well we did out there for lack of equipment. It was a long 3 days but it was a great learning experience.

 

What else......in Sept of 2006 there was a Marine in Kansas who had threatened some people down by Tinker, for which I have no idea why to this day, and he said he was coming to Tinker to take out any military people. I was on my first shift as a senior controller. I get a call from the command post at McConnell AFB, saying they are looking for this guy but to be on the look out for him. Well I start calling the leadership and letting them know. We put the Security Forces on alert at the gates and call the local authorities to try and snag this guy. By about the mid afternoon they found him 5 miles away from Tinker. He was arrested and taken away. The funny part of the story was that the command post had knowledge of all this and by regulations they should of sent an operational report to HQ USAF. Well they pawned it off on my command post as some Colonel there at Mc Connell refused to let his command post do it. He said it wasn't their problem. So I called my leadership, explained that the report was going to be muy late and what that Colonel had said. My wing leadership said go ahead and do the report but make sure I sent a copy of it to that Colonel's leadership explaining what he said. So I did as I was told and got a call the next day from HQ AMC asking about what has transpired. I explained it to them and that was that. Later I find out from my vice wing commander that the Colonel at McConnell got his ass chewed big time for pawning the report off on us and not getting it to HQ USAF as soon as they knew. I got kudos from the leadership for that.

 

Over the spring of 2007 we had a SSgt get into some trouble for slashing tires while he was drunk. Well not a big deal really on the command post side, but we got all this information while we were in the middle of a Major Accident Response Exercise for the upcoming air show. So we got full battle staff assembled, we are simulating an AWAC's crashing into a crowd during a fly by. Phones ringing off the hook......then we get the call about that SSgt slashing tires. So that required a report to HQ USAF. So here I got another exercise and a real world situation at the same time. Normally we could have gotten the CP out of it but the wing king didn’t want to hear it, he said handle them both. Long story short, we got it done but it was chaos. I had the weekend duty the next day though, got a call about 1600, that SSgt, who had been slashing tired, drove out to a lake, sat next to a tree and shot himself. It was a bad weekend duty. See in the CP world we have to do all the reports, notifications ect to everyone and anyone with all the gory details. Never ever a fun time.

 

That fall of 2007 I got a call from a counselor from FT Sill stating that one of her former patients with severe PTSD who lives in Oklahoma City called the VA suicide hotline and stated that she was going to kill herself. The counselor called the Oklahoma PD and Sherriff Dept and they were busy with a kidnapping and couldn’t assist. So they gave the counselor the phone number to my Command Post. She told me the story and asked what I could do. I told her to be honest I am not sure what I could do but I got all the info and started making phone calls. Seeing how this was a fellow military member I could not let this go. The counselor stated she did get into contact with her former patient and arranged a meeting place to try to get her to calm down. I called my base police (Security Forces) and asked for options. They didn’t have any they could think of due to the fact it was off base. However they did get me in contact with a person from investigations who like me didn’t want to this have a bad ending. (More on that in a second) So I called a friend of mine and ask her to go to the meeting place. She went without hesitation and waited for almost 2 hours. The person we were looking for never showed. The investigations person called and said that he was inbound to the location and would take her into custody and get local authorities involved if she showed. Another 2 hours passed, still a no show. Nothing……this whole time I was on pin and needles hoping for the best but thinking the worst. Finally I got a call from the guy from investigations…they found her; she had slit her wrists, badly, but was alive. They got her to a VA hospital where she is being treated. That turned out well.

 

Everything was pretty routine over the next few months, holidays went by without a hitch. AWAC's was getting it done as we always have.....then 25 Feb at 1413, everything turned to crap. As a lot of you know from the media we had a TSgt get into an dispute with his ex wife and he killed his two kids and himself. I was the Senior controller that day, I had a guy I was training, then my junior controller. I can give you a minute by minute play by play of that day. I remember when the SWAT hit the door and about 3 minutes later we got the word that there was 3 dead. I threw my clipboard across the room I was so mad. We were hoping for a better ending, but it didn't happen. That was one of the longest days in my life.

 

 

All in all my time at Tinker has been good though. I mean I had to make the best of it not being with my family since December 2005. I will miss this place because the people here were great. However it is time to move on. So I draw a close to 16 1/2 years of active duty and move on to the USAF Reserve. I have a feeling that something good and big is going to happen in this next chapter of my life. I can't wait to start.

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16 and a half years... man that's a long time!!

but I sure can read you had some experiences for better and for worse...

 

good luck with the new chapter in your life...

<S>

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I would also like to thank you for your service; USAFMTL, or Dave S, whichever you prefer.

 

Here's to the next chapter. :good:

Edited by Longestpants

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hmm, but you're gonna need a new screen name... Dave S. is a little :bad:

 

Yes, I agree. "Dave S" does sound a bit light in the loafers...

 

Just think, Dave, you'll have more time to deal with the likes of moi..... :biggrin:

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you're gonna need a new screen name... Dave S. is a little :bad:

 

Perhaps we should start a poll for a new name for Dave... kind of like how a pilot gets his/her callsign... from their fellow pilots. What a great way to begin the trasition from ADAF to AFRC

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Perhaps we should start a poll for a new name for Dave... kind of like how a pilot gets his/her callsign... from their fellow pilots. What a great way to begin the trasition from ADAF to AFRC

 

 

With the X-29 poll already making chaos, can the forum take another poll like this? :biggrin:

Edited by JA 37 Viggen

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Dave:

It's always trying to start a new job.

Sounds like you have the RIGHT attitude,though.

Will you remain at Tinker or where?

We hope family will be happy to have you around more.

 

 

How about : USAFRTS ( lol) It's supposed to mean USAF Reserve TechSgt. not USA F-rts

 

Oh Well,I tried!!

 

Sincerely, GOOD LUCK!! :good::ok::clapping:

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Dave:

It's always trying to start a new job.

Sounds like you have the RIGHT attitude,though.

Will you remain at Tinker or where?

We hope family will be happy to have you around more.

 

 

How about : USAFRTS ( lol) It's supposed to mean USAF Reserve TechSgt. not USA F-rts

 

Oh Well,I tried!!

 

Sincerely, GOOD LUCK!! :good::ok::clapping:

 

 

Ez that is funny as hell.

 

I will be at Wright Patterson at the 445th AW. (C-5's)

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6 1/2 hours left...... :victory:

 

 

tick, tick, tick, tick,,,,,,,,,,,

 

I can only imagine what its like to bear the responsibilities that you and your peers have been tasked with,

Freedom has a flavor that the protected will never know,

Thank you for your years in service, and good luck to you in your future,

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Ladies and Gentleman, this is TSgt Slavens signing off from the Tinker AFB Command Post for the last time. It was one hell of a ride.

 

AMF!

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Ladies and Gentleman, this TSgt Slavens signing off from the Tinker AFB Command Post for the last time. It was one hell of a ride.

 

AMF!

My respect Dave. I read your issues about your job, and being in a similar position at the moment, in a world where respect to the workers and those who serve dwindel every day more, I wish you the best in every new position that you are going to occupy.

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Congrats, I wish you and your family well.

 

I know what it is like to make a big jump in life (as I am about to very soon as well), things can be frustrating but you always land on your feet.

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