TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. â€“ U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Z. Alston, U.S. Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, met with Sailors from Strategic Communications Wing 1 (also called Task Force 124 or TF 124) on March 26 to discuss the importance of command and control capabilities to the USSTRATCOM mission and for the nationâ€™s strategic assets.
â€œWhat a great experience,â€ he said. â€œThe Sailors here are dedicated to the mission and ensure it is done in great fashion every single dayâ€¦it is evident that leadership is heavily involved.â€
While at Tinker, Alston attended a Chiefâ€™s Mess and toured the barracks in which the junior Sailors reside. He also held an all-hands call with more than 200 TF 124 Sailors, during which he discussed the importance of leadership and mentorship at all levels.
The visit came during a month in which the resilience of SCW 1 and TF 124 Sailors was heavily tested, as Oklahoma was hit by multiple tornados on March 25. The severe storms left one person dead and at least 30 more injured. Many homes were destroyed by the tornados, including several in Moore, which was ravaged by an EF5 tornado less than two years ago.
When Alston heard that some of the TF 124 Sailors lived in neighborhoods affected by the tornados, he and members of USSTRATCOM decided to visit Moore to check on their well-being. Alston emphasized the importance of leadership and taking care of each other during challenging times.
â€œThe ability to work through adversity starts with you,â€ he said. â€œLeadership is here to support you and provide the resources you need to continue the outstanding work you do 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year in support of the nation and the mission.â€
After meeting with command-level leadership and several senior non-commissioned officers, Alston is confident that the Sailors and civilians assigned to TF 124 are ready and will continue their outstanding support to USSTRATCOMâ€™s global command and control missions.
â€œThe mission doesnâ€™t stop when times get tough,â€ he said. â€œI am convinced that Task Force 124 will thrive in the face of adversity. Each Sailor I met understands that he or she is an important part of the team. Despite challenges, they remain focused on the mission.â€
USSTRATCOM is one of nine unified commands under the Department of Defense and is responsible for strategic deterrence; space operations; cyberspace operations; joint electronic warfare; global strike; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; combating weapons of mass destruction; and analysis and targeting. The command utilizes various specialized subordinate commands and task forces, including TF 124, to carry out its Unified Command Plan-assigned missions.
SCW 1 is an administrative command, responsible to Commander Naval Air Forces, for manning, training and equipping the Navy squadrons responsible for nuclear command and control communication to the nation's nuclear triad (submarines, bombers and land-based missiles).
TF 124 is an operational command, responsible to the USSTRATCOM commander, which provides the airborne platform and aircrew for the USSTRATCOM Airborne Command Post, the Airborne Launch Control System, the Non-Strategic Nuclear Forces Theater Commanders and the "Take Charge and Move Out" (TACAMO) Emergency Action Message relay missions.