Tobyhanna Army Depot, PA –
Essential military communication terminals are getting a big upgrade, all thanks to employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot.
Depot employees continue to support the Modernization of Enterprise Terminal (MET) project, a multi-year, multi-million dollar mission to upgrade nearly 90 communication terminals across the world. The modernizations provide heightened stability and provide ten times more bandwidth for satellite communications. According to John Nicholoff, the MET-affected terminals support satellite communication for soldiers and Department of Defense officials worldwide. Nicholoff leads the C4ISR Directorate’s Strategic Systems Branch.
A typical MET installation mission involves twelve depot employees in a variety of disciplines. The missions also require support from a much larger team of engineers, logisticians and technicians back at the depot. Although the vast installation locations allow employees to travel the world, the missions present significant challenges for team members.
“Some of our installations take place in brutal conditions; we’ve had employees working in extreme weather situations,” said David Iverson, the logistics management specialist for the MET program. “Because the locations are so remote, it can take a very long time to travel there as well.” Despite the sometimes-adverse conditions, Iverson says the program always has willing volunteers.
Electronics Mechanic Leader Manual Aguilar is one of those volunteers and has been part of several different MET installation teams. He says the experience has been eye-opening.
“Going out on MET missions allows me to see the big picture of work being done at the depot,” Aguilar said, noting that the installations are so complex that they remind him of “really big erector sets.” He says completing an installation feels like “a big accomplishment.”
In addition to completing the MET upgrades, Depot personnel are also installing a new safety feature on the terminals. The initiative was developed after personnel identified a safety concern, allowing Tobyhanna to work directly with customers to design the safety rail and develop the proper deployment strategy.
Future MET installations will take employees to Alaska, Germany and Kuwait. Depot officials say the program is expected to run through 2025 and is expected to expand its scope to include sustainment as well as corrosion control.