“Fort Campbell 9-1-1, what’s the location of your emergency?”
In the wake of the recent tornado that wreaked havoc across Montgomery County, displacing more than 500 Soldiers and their families, the urgency for a resilient response mechanism becomes even more evident. The unsettling aftermath of the disaster underscores the indispensable role of our trained dispatchers, poised and ready to answer the call at the Fort Campbell, Ky., Emergency Communication Center (ECC).
Tanya Beattie, a lead dispatcher with the Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs, a part of Cherokee Federal, has devoted more than seven years to supporting the post’s ECC. Dispatchers like Beattie navigate a complex tapestry of emergencies, ranging from the joyous occasion of childbirth to the heart-wrenching reality of life-or-death situations.
It was just past 8 p.m., and Tanya Beattie, midway through her swing shift one evening in June, found herself at the heart of this essential lifeline after receiving a call for help at the ECC.
"My lady is … her water’s about to break, and the baby’s going to come out," urgently shared the caller.
Although this marked Beattie’s first childbirth call, she remained unfazed. She maintained a calm and steady demeanor, guiding the father through a series of questions and the delivery process. With first responders en route, Beattie took charge of the call, helping the anxious father through each step. In less than three minutes, the baby arrived, but a new challenge emerged—the newborn wasn't breathing.
Aware that first responders were imminent, Beattie couldn't afford to wait. Consulting her infant CPR guide card, she coached the father until the baby gurgled and, finally, cried, the approaching ambulance siren serving as a hopeful background melody.
With the newborn now breathing independently, Beattie instructed the father to hand the phone and the newborn to his wife, allowing him to unlock the door for the arriving paramedics.
"You did a great job," Beattie commended the new mom, listening to the newborn’s coos and the paramedics entering the room. "Congratulations," she added before ending the call.
While this marked Beattie’s first childbirth call, it wasn't her first encounter with life-or-death situations. In a tragic incident during her four-person shift, two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed during a training exercise in March 2023, claiming the lives of all nine service members on board.
Jonathan Burgard, CNSP project manager and lead trainer for dispatch operations, emphasized the unpredictable nature of their work, stating, "When a call comes in, our dispatchers have to be ready for anything."
Since July 2018, Cherokee Federal, in collaboration with teaming partner Trigent Solutions, has offered emergency and non-emergency dispatch support for the Soldiers, family members, and visitors of Fort Campbell around the clock. Handling over 100,000 calls annually, the team assists more than 30,000 military, government civilian, and contractor personnel, along with 51,000 resident family members spanning Kentucky and Tennessee state lines.
Beyond their ECC responsibilities, the Cherokee-Trigent support team actively contributes to community-building and educational events hosted by Fort Campbell Emergency Management, including initiatives like National Night Out.
"The Cherokee Standard is critical to how we operate," emphasized Steven Bilby, president of Cherokee Federal. "It isn’t just a benchmark; it's part of the culture that drives us forward, and it’s frontline employees like Tanya who demonstrate to our customers what the Cherokee Standard truly means," he concluded.
Events like the recent tornado that devastated the Clarksville community, underscore the pivotal role our trained dispatchers play in safeguarding the installation. In the face of natural disasters, their proficiency becomes even more crucial, offering a lifeline of support and coordination that proves indispensable during times of crisis. Whether guiding a father through the awe-inspiring birth of a child or confronting the grim reality of a tragic helicopter crash, our dispatchers on Fort Campbell are the unwavering guardians of composure amid chaos.