by Airman Basic Joshua L. Horton
123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
12/28/2012 - KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Airmen
at the Kentucky Air National Guard have enhanced their ability to work
with civilian agencies following a catastrophe, thanks to a new Mobile
Emergency Operations Center.
The state-of-the-art trailer, informally called a MEOC, arrived Nov. 27
and provides an extremely capable command-and-control hub that can be
towed to the scene of any domestic disaster, said Senior Master Sgt.
Carol Davis, emergency manager for the 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron.
One of the things that makes the MEOC unique is its ability to tap into
the civilian communications infrastructure, Davis explained. Most
military equipment is designed to access military computer and
communications networks instead.
"The MEOC provides on-scene communications and response capability we
did not have previously," Davis said. "We refer to our MEOC as having
'.com communications,' meaning it's all civilian-capable. Military
responders could also use it, but it isn't equipped with '.mil'
communication systems. It is specifically designed for use with civilian
agencies, and we would deploy the MEOC at the request of the civilian
community. The civilian emergency management officials could then work
out of it side-by-side with our military responders."
The MEOC is 36 feet long by 13 feet wide and is a self-contained system,
featuring its own generator capable of supporting 24-hour operations
for three to five days. A satellite-based communications suite
integrates multiple radio systems, three dedicated phone lines, national
and local TV reception and a surveillance camera. The trailer also such
includes amenities as a toilet, meeting room, microwave and
The $750,000 MEOC will be based in Louisville, but Davis said it will be
shared with other Air Guard units on an as-needed basis.
"It's a regional asset that the National Guard Bureau has placed in the
state of Kentucky. Ultimately, there will be 30 deployed to various
wings throughout the United States."
Kentucky was one of the first states to get a MEOC because of its
proximity to surrounding Federal Emergency Management Agency regions,
according to Senior Airman Eric Finley, an emergency management
journeyman for the 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron.
"We can take it to any scene, whether it's a hazmat incident or a natural disaster," he said.
The first planned use of the MEOC's capabilities will occur in March
during a scheduled Major Accident Response Exercise, Davis said.
"We plan to put the MEOC to the test during the upcoming MARE. Until
then, we have some work to do in acquainting our emergency managers and
Emergency Operations Center personnel with the MEOC's capabilities."