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NEWS | March 8, 2023

Tobyhanna Sergeant Major departs thankful for lessons learned, progress made

By Mr. Nicolo Manzo and Ms. Danielle E. Weinschenk

During Sergeant Major (SGM) Michael J. Wiles’ tenure as Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) SGM, both Wiles and TYAD have enjoyed meaningful growth. This growth has allowed both individual and organization to better advance their mission of supporting America’s warfighters.

Wiles enlisted in the U.S. Army in February 1996. He said he knew joining the Army was an opportunity to make a difference in his life. 27 years later, Wiles has worn several hats during his military career, including multiple deployments to Southwest Asia in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, experience as a maintainer and leadership roles in South Korea, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Georgia.

Wiles says prior to TYAD, he had plenty of experience with production floor and maintenance operations as well as working with fellow members of the military. He said his time at Tobyhanna has allowed him to hone his knowledge of organic industrial base business operations, leadership skills when guiding the civilian workforce, and his soft skills in general.

“All of the professionals (at TYAD) taught me that there are more leadership skills than what the Army teaches you. I learned the soft skills here. I think it made me a better teammate and collaborator,” says Wiles.

While he has enjoyed getting to know several talented members of Team Tobyhanna, one individual who Wiles has worked with as closely as anyone is Depot Commander Colonel Daniel L. Horn. Wiles has enjoyed his partnership with Horn and says their different skillsets have presented learning opportunities.

“It’s been interesting and satisfying to work with Colonel Horn. We’ve had different experiences. (I admire) his ability to remain calm in the moment – he’s helped me be more patient,” says Wiles.

One endeavor Wiles points to as a professional growth opportunity was his completion of a Green Belt Project in TYAD’s C4ISR Finishing Center. Green Belt Projects are aligned with Lean Six Sigma, the Army’s continuous improvement methodology.

During the project, the SGM had the opportunity to lead a cross-functional team focused on reducing direct labor hour overruns on refinishing operations. According to Wiles, the experience was truly enlightening.

“The Green Belt Project helped identify what our quality and production teams both need to produce a quality and cost-effective product for the warfighter. I am very proud of the accomplishment, and of the hard work done by all who participated.”

During his time as depot SGM, Wiles has taken the opportunity to get out into the community in support of several TYAD community engagements from Warfighter of the Quarter presentations to Veterans Day school visits and beyond. He says one event stands out above the rest.

“Having the opportunity to speak at the Lake Naomi September 11 ceremony was truly special. Because of the lake’s proximity to New York City, many of the attendees had a personal connection or story about the attacks. That experience will stick with me.”

Upon reflecting about his time at TYAD, Wiles says he gained an even greater appreciation and understanding of the gifted workforce and the complex work done at the depot.

“(My) lasting impression would be the amount of talent that works for the depot from the production floors through management… knowing the amount of care, professionalism and dedication that people put into the work they do here to supply a top-notch product back to our Warfighters,” says Wiles.

Wiles points to his family seeing the work done at Tobyhanna as a particularly poignant experience.

“It was emotional and educational for my family to see what keeps them safe through work at Tobyhanna.”

Wiles’ lengthy and impressive military career speaks for itself. Although TYAD and Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) are hardly the first destinations on his journey, the area and organization have left a mark on Wiles and his family.

“The community is what supports Tobyhanna. They are a walking billboard. In my 27 years of military experience, this community has been the most receptive,” says Wiles.

Aside from the community support, Wiles has enjoyed the plethora of locally owned businesses and restaurants NEPA has to offer. He offered a common sentiment about NEPA – he won’t miss the weather, but he will miss the pizza.

As Wiles prepares to depart Tobyhanna, he hopes Team Tobyhanna felt his passion for the work done here and his gratitude for welcoming him and allowing him to learn and grow at TYAD.

“I hope I was a positive influence, and that (depot employees) understood my passion was because I cared. I have a son and a son-in-law that serve. The equipment they use is the equipment that’s worked on here. I just want to tell (Team Tobyhanna) thank you for embracing me on my journey as I’ve learned. The open arms of the Deputy Commander to the directors, deputies, work leaders and production floor artisans helped me to understand how Tobyhanna works and why it’s successful,” says Wiles.

“My military brothers and sisters who use this equipment, it means a lot because we depend on Tobyhanna, and they come through every time. When the Nation calls, Tobyhanna employees step up. I hope Team Tobyhanna knows that people around the world know and respect the Tobyhanna Army Depot brand.”

As the end of his military career nears, Wiles has an eye to the next chapter of his life.

“My next assignment will be my last. I’m not sure what my next professional steps are; however, I can tell you I intend to retire by the age of 60, move back home to be closer to my parents, and will spend my ‘golden years’ with the people I love,” adding that he most looks forward to the chance to spend more time with his grandchildren.

Wiles relinquishes his responsibility as the depot's senior enlisted advisor on March 1. He will take on the role of Battalion Command Sergeant Major for the 1-337th Brigade Support Battalion at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin in the coming months.

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 3,100 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.

Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2035, has four focus areas: Investing in Our People, C5ISR Readiness, Shape the Future and Strategic Communications. TOBY2035 aims to posture the depot for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense's premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.