New emergency response vehicle arrives

By Greg Allen, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

It looks pretty much like any 26,000 pound, 39-foot RV going down the road, if you ignore the enormous gold signage that says “Emergency Management Cannon AFB.”

The Mobile Emergency Operations Center vehicle made its official appearance at Cannon Air Force Base on March 27, as airmen and employees got a view of the vehicle.

Glynn Lamb, 27th Special Operations Logistics Squadron vehicle control chief, looked at the vehicle as it sat on the corner of Torch and Octagon, waiting for the arrival of the airmen who will train to use it.

“It’s part of the Air Force concept for mobile management operations centers,” he said. “It’s a regional vehicle, but it’s stationed here at Cannon.”
It can be used by several other bases in the Southwest such as Luke AFB, Ariz., and bases in Colorado, added Lamb.

“If they have a natural disaster or a crash, it [the vehicle] will respond,” he said.

The vehicle was built by Farber Specialty Vehicles in Columbus, Ohio, said Farber representative Harry Spieker, as he showed off the $250,000 vehicle.

“We’ve built a lot of vehicles similar to this, such as command or medical centers,” Spieker said. “This is very similar to units we built for Hurlburt Field and McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.”

The vehicle is a Freightliner chassis, which makes it more like a truck than anything else. It has an Allison transmission, air brakes and a 20-kilowatt generator that, according to Spieker, would probably power a small house. It can also hook up to an external power source and has a slide-out room for additional space.

But it is the inside of the vehicle that sets it apart from your everyday RV. The MEOC is equipped with 11 monitors with access to local and satellite broadcasts, along with Internet access and telephone systems. This provides the on-site commander with real-world communication capabilities. It also has sleeping and bathroom facilities, in addition to a cooking area for extended missions.

Staff Sgt. Greg Hansen with the 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron, a vehicle and vehicular equipment maintenance journeyman, walked around the vehicle looking like he wanted to buy it. He poked and prodded wires and plugs as he stuck his head under the hood. He pulled at the chrome lugnuts and ran his hand over the rack of batteries. He scribbled notes on a pad of paper.

“I’m looking to see what kind of systems it uses and what we will have to do for maintenance. I know it will be on our ‘hot’ list,” Hansen said, referring to the amount of time it takes to perform maintenance.

Lamb said that once Cannon airmen are trained on the operation and use of the MEOC, the base will work with other units to determine who will operate the vehicle when it is at other locations.

“One of the reasons we are here today is to figure out if our (airmen) will deploy with the vehicle or if we need to train people from other bases. That’s yet to be determined,” Lamb said.