NEWS | Nov. 30, 2020

Tobyhanna Army Depot provides critical logistics support to Operation Warp Speed

By Ms. Danielle E. Weinschenk

Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) is playing an important role in the unprecedented battle against COVID-19.

Depot employees are providing logistics support to Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the partnership designed to develop and distribute a vaccine for the deadly virus. OWS is co-led by Gen. Gus Perna, whose previous assignment was leading Army Materiel Command (AMC). TYAD is a subordinate command of AMC and the Communications-Electronics Command.

The effort to support OWS is directly aligned with Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, Toby 2028 – specifically the C5ISR readiness line of effort, which strives to ensure Soldier readiness for any conflict, foreign, domestic or even virus-related. While Department of Defense personnel will not be involved in administering the vaccine to the general public, they will execute tasks that are crucial to the mission.

“We have the best logisticians in the world at the Department of Defense…to guide ... every logistical detail you could possibly think of," said Paul Mango, the deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services during an October teleconference.

OWS representatives contacted TYAD in September with an urgent need for such logistical support. Within just a few days, a group of experienced Team Tobyhanna volunteers arrived at a distribution center in Maryland to begin assisting the effort. The team’s tasks include streamlining the current warehousing and palletization efforts, as well as shipping and receiving vast quantities of needles, syringes and other materials needed for vaccine administration. Those involved say the effort is larger than life.

“The scale of OWS is unbelievable,” said Damian Edwards, the TYAD logistics management specialist supporting the mission. Team leader David Schrader agreed.

“Although the mission is huge, our team is very experienced with this type of work. We were able to begin making a difference almost immediately.” Schrader is an electronics integrated systems mechanic in the C4ISR Directorate.

Among the team’s many responsibilities is quality assurance. All materials need to be carefully inspected for any sign of damage. In addition, personnel must perform verification checks on quantities and lot numbers. Once the inspection is complete, pallets need to be properly packed, wrapped and stored or staged for shipment.

“We have to focus on maximizing space because the operation is so dynamic. We spend a lot of time combining pallets or restacking them by hand to ensure we’re making the most of our limited area,” said Schrader.

The team expects to complete their mission three weeks ahead of schedule and has supported the processing of 200 million syringes and more than 40 million kits for OWS. This outstanding performance has earned high praise from OWS leadership.

"We can’t thank Tobyhanna enough for standing up and supporting this critical mission,” Marion Whicker, Deputy Chief of Supply, Production and Distribution for OWS said in an e-mail.

Schrader commended the collaborative effort and noted that the mission, like many others at Tobyhanna, serves a higher purpose.

“Overall, it feels good to know that we're doing our part. Our work is helping implement the framework for a successful vaccine rollout when the time comes,” Schrader said.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 4,000 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.