Work executed during a maintenance rodeo in Florida helped equip an Army National Guard unit with mission capable mobile satellite systems.
The two-week event was the first of its kind for members of the 146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion partnering with Tobyhanna Army Depot. Specialists volunteered to travel south to evaluate, troubleshoot and make critical repairs to Satellite Transportable Terminals (STT) with the goal of delivering as many functional systems as possible in the time available. Soldiers were also able to take advantage of some on-site training during the exercise.
Personnel applied their skills and expertise to repair a majority of the systems on site. Faced with a parts shortage mid-way through the exercise, the team’s quick thinking resulted in three systems being repaired by using two terminals earmarked for return to the depot for overhaul as a source for spare parts. A third system requiring major repairs, but not an overhaul, will be sent to the depot. Team members were able to fix 19 of the 24 systems identified inoperable.
“We [Tobyhanna] were able to work with CECOM’s (Communications Electronic Command) Integrated Logistics Support Center will replenish the unit’s fleet with two float systems while Tobyhanna conducts necessary repairs at the depot,” said John Scott, Tactical Satellite Systems Branch chief. “If all goes according to plan the battalion will achieve full mission capable status to meet their 2020 deployment requirements.” Scott is assigned to the C4ISR Directorate’s C3 Division.
The outdoor exercise was plagued by rainy and unseasonably cold weather, according to the six-member team who surveyed and repaired the systems. Tobyhanna provided tools and expertise for evaluations and testing while the host unit provided everything else needed to ensure the systems met standards.
Soldiers that use the systems in the field worked alongside depot personnel throughout the exercise.
Electronics Mechanic Dave Schrader said working closely with the Soldiers was very rewarding. The team leader remarked that there are always surprises when dealing with equipment held in storage for long periods despite planning for every contingency. This assignment was no different. Schrader smiled as he relayed a story about the team uncovering a wiring harness that looked like it had been damaged by squirrels.
According to Electronics Mechanic Joe Czech, everyone worked well together and got everything done in a timely fashion. He remarked that the servicemembers did a great job helping Team Tobyhanna meet customer expectations.
“The Soldiers showed an interest in learning more about the systems, so we showed them some simple troubleshooting techniques they could use in the field,” said Electronics Engineer Nisha Shrestha.
This was a much larger task than anticipated, according to Scott, explaining that this was the first time a survey and repair exercise of this magnitude had been accomplished in one trip. Generally Tobyhanna will send two teams – one to assess the situation followed by the specialists to perform the repairs, he added.
The branch chief commended the team for a job well done.
“The entire team communicated extremely well, which allowed them to remain in sync throughout the entire exercise, never missing a beat,” Scott said. “As a supervisor, witnessing firsthand the knowledge and skills team members possess is very humbling.”
The exercise was declared a success and team members returned home confident the work performed had helped increase the battalion’s mission readiness.
“This trip was a win-win for both organizations,” said Electronics Worker Brandon Pauselli. “We had an awesome team. It felt like there wasn’t anything we couldn’t accomplish.”