Kentucky Guard’s Joint Operations Center response to pandemic

Members of the Kentucky Air and Army National Guard work in the Joint Operations Center in the Wellman Armory on Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky., during the COVID-19 response. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Nasir Stoner)

By Pfc. Alexander Hellmann and Sgt. Nasir Stoner, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FRANKFORT, Ky- Soldiers and Airmen are hard at work in the Kentucky National Guard’s Joint Operations Center in Frankfort, starting in March.

Amidst rising cases of COVID-19 the Kentucky Army and Air National Guards pulled together representitives from each major command in the state to form the JOC. The JOC serves as a collection of individuals in one place to more efficiently communicate and coordinate the Guard in its response efforts.

An Officer in Charge or Battle Captain heads up the JOC and accompanied by a Battle Sergeant or Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge.

Capt. Arlene Litchfield, the JOC OIC, and Sgt. 1st Class Harold Broughton, NCOIC, act as the directing forces for information coming from the field and guidance from the senior officers of the states Army and Air Guard.

“We are a conduit of information for the Joint Operations of the response for COVID-19,” said Sgt. 1st Class Broughton. “We take in and push out all the information that we receive to assist with the response.”

Those that make up the JOC are Liaison Officers and members of the different support staff sections.

Liaison Officers, or better known as LNO’s, are representatives from each of the commands that comprises the Kentucky Guard. These officers are present to receive and push out information to their respective commands, speeding along the mobilization process and more efficiently coordinating relief efforts across the state.

“We always prepare to handle any type of mission,” said Maj. Jose Batista, LNO for 75th Troop Command. “I am responsible to see that all transportation and communication requirements of the mission are met between the operations center and our unit.”

Along with each major command, the JOC divides tasks based on specialty groups to increase efficiency.

The G-1 (personnel) section logs the administrative tasks and keeps track of Soldiers and Airmen of the Guard.

The G-2 (Intelligence) section collects and disseminates intelligence gathered from different assets in the field.

The G-3 (Operations) section coordinates and plans operations by notifying others what the objectives are and when to have people ready to receive the necessary commands.

The G-4 (Logistics) section responsibility is to supply and transport personnel and equipment for COVID-19-related missions.

“We support all logistic requests for the COVID-19 response,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Morris, G-4 Liaison. “Our primary role is providing food and lodging to all the Soldiers currently on mission for the response. I’d like to think we’ve done our part in making sure people can do their missions successfully.”

Guard members in the JOC, as well as assigned state personnel, have been working together as a team to complete their missions for the response with very few issues while running at a high level

“Overall I think we’ve been extremely successful,” said Broughton. “The biggest thing is teamwork. There are hurdles, but we look at those and we find a solution for those problems.”

*Other sections represented in the JOC but not mentioned are the G-6 (Information Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) the G-9 (Army Family and morale, Welfare and Recreation) and the JFHQ Command Support Staff.

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