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NEWS | Nov. 10, 2020

Inauguration task force capitalizes on depot capability

By Ms. Jacqueline Boucher

TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Team Tobyhanna personnel will be counted among the tens of thousands of joint service members supporting an organization tasked with planning, coordinating and executing key aspects of the 2021 presidential inauguration.

Tobyhanna Army Depot employees traveled to the National Defense University (NDU) and Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region (JFHQ-NCR), Washington, D.C., recently to install a new wireless network and expand the non-secure internet protocol router (NIPR) network throughout three buildings on campus at NDU, and four buildings at JFHQ-NCR. The effort included installation and certification of new cable drops, wireless access points, network cabinets, patch panels, fiber optic cables and network switches.

In addition to completing the typical planned phases of work, team members applied their network design skills for the first time at the Fort Lesley J. McNair locations. The technology provides short-range wireless high-speed data connections between mobile devices and nearby access points.

Tobyhanna has played an integral role in providing or upgrading wireless technology at a number of depots, arsenals and ammunition plants across the Army Materiel Command (AMC) since 2014. Electronics Technician Andy Hrosovsky has been with the program from the beginning and watched it grow over the years.

Hrosovsky praised the four-person team for working long hours at night to keep from interrupting classroom schedules at the NDU.  Workers who support this mission are assigned to the Systems Integration and Support and Production Engineering directorates.

“They did an outstanding job,” he said, adding that shop personnel spend a lot of time on temporary duty (TDY) status supporting missions that also include Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program (I3MP), Home Station Mission Command Center (HSMCC) and Modernization of Enterprise Terminals (MET). “Team members have worked hard to become experts in their field.”

Hrosovsky leads the team of electricians who support network modernization efforts that increase capability, enhance security and standardize operations. He is assigned to the SATCOM and Site Installation Division.

“Everyone on the team has a background as an electrician,” said Robert Olshefski, Electrical Cable Branch chief. “Fields of study also include the communications field to acquire the necessary networking skills to do this job.”

Tobyhanna was able to provide NDU with wireless access for laptops, tablets and computers used to enable high-level education, training and professional development of national security leaders. Hrosovsky explained how the team was able to install a new system, linking more than 100 wireless access points throughout the buildings. The install project at the JFHQ-NCR; however, was a little more urgent.

For those of you who don’t know, the JFHQ-NCR transitions to Joint Task Force National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) during incidents of national significance such as the presidential inauguration ceremony scheduled in January.  The task force plans, coordinates and executes Department of Defense approved support, as well as conducts liaison and coordination with the presidential inaugural committee and the United States Congress Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, according to the organization’s website. The unit participates in all inter-agency planning and conducts planning with joint partners in the national capital region. The team is expected to provide world-class ceremonial support for the presidential inauguration and the related official ceremonies and events throughout the inaugural period, continuing the tradition of military participation in the presidential inauguration of the commander-in-chief tracing back to the inauguration of George Washington in 1789.

Electronics Mechanic Mark Yeninas performed a number of duties while TDY to one of the Army’s historic posts. He works in the Strategic Systems Cable Branch.

“The most rewarding parts of this job are supporting the warfighter and the satisfaction of a job well done when the install is successful,” said Yeninas, who thinks all of his trips have been memorable. “We’ve worked outside in the extreme heat of Texas and the snowy, cold Sierra Mountains.” He also noted the team can now add supporting the presidential inauguration to their list of accomplishments.

Tobyhanna was among the 13 sites scheduled to have wireless technology installed between fiscal 2015 and 2016.  A second round of wireless upgrades took place between 2018 and 2019 at 11 locations. The depot still partners with U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command (USAISEC) specialists to meet mission requirements.

“These skilled individuals provide quality work and I believe their reputation precedes them,” said Shawn Smith, Site Installation and SATCOM Engineering Branch chief. “People are finding out what the depot can do and requesting our services. Tobyhanna couldn’t do the job without the skills of each team member.”