“To quote Dora the explorer ‘I’m the map’”

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jason W. Cochran
  • 9RW/PA

Across the country the Department of Defense provided aid to communities in an effort to alleviate some of the strain on civilian healthcare facilities caused by COVID-19. Some examples of this are hospital ships USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy going to New York and Los Angeles respectively, and the Army Corps of Engineers creating alternative care facilities.

Beale Air Force Base is no different. While not as visible as a hospital ship, the support that Tech. Sgt. Kevin Cuningham, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) noncommissioned officer in charge of Execution Support, provides to the fight against COVID-19 is essential, and without it the mission would have nowhere to go.

Put simply, Cunningham helps key decision makers know where they can put things. Whether that be a new building, exhibits during an airshow or even what kind of planes can go on certain parts of the flightline, he has the maps and the data to give the mission a place to go.

“There’s two sides of it,” said Cunningham. “There’s gathering data, whether that’s from new buildings like the temporary living facility, or going out and finding data on pre-existing structures. The other side is using that data to make whatever kind of map someone needs.”

The importance of Cunningham's work cannot be understated, said  Stewart Wahlers, 9th CES emergency management specialist.

“The work that Cunningham does is integral to the decision making process,” said Wahlers, a retired U.S. Army Col. “Without him there is no plan.”

There were two sets of plans Cunningham was working on. One was tracking facilities in the local area that had COVID-19 patients.

“The second part is planning for two emergency medical facilities that are supposed to be getting deployed,” said Cunningham. “I have a couple maps pre-made with where I think those facilities should go. It’s kinda fun because it’s not my data. I have all the data for Beale, but not for places like the Shasta County Fairgrounds so sometimes I have to pull data from places like Google Maps to draw out what is going to happen.”

Giving leadership the ability to make informed decisions is important during regular operations, but crucial during times of crisis.