DELIVERING TACHYON TO IRAQ
Bringing 21st century technology to the battlefield means overcoming primitive conditions — and dangers such as landmines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mortar attacks — conditions not generally encountered in the typical workplace. But these hazards are all "in a day's work" when teamwork and cooperation across the enterprise are among your "weapons."
"The coordination between all the partners was extremely valuable and led to the overall success of the mission," said Patrick Lee, team leader for the J-6 Europe Forward Information Technology/Communications support team. The team installed the first Tachyon satellite-based Internet system at the first Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) location on Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.
Two other Tachyon systems had already been installed at DRMO locations in Iraq. Lee's team also included Warren Barber and Chad Gandy both from DLA-Europe J-6. Logistics support for the Afghanistan mission was provided by the DLA Contingency Support Team-Afghanistan (DCST-AF) and DRMS representatives at Bagram.
The Tachyon system allows the user or local network to connect to the Internet just as if the user were in a normal DLA office environment, according to Lee. Before this successful installation, there was no computer capability or Internet access at the Bagram DRMO.
"This was a major accomplishment for those of us who were working to establish the first working DRMO operation in Afghanistan. It's amazing to think that our current DRMS/Temporary Excess Storage Site (TESS) was a minefield as recently as November," said Army Maj. John Dreska, forward commander of the DCST-AF.
TEAM 4TH E
Lee said his team is "battle hardened" because they have all spent a lot of time in Iraq. They flew to the DRMO TESS yard over the New Year's holiday weekend to install the system, but that was really the end of the journey — the beginning was months earlier with coordination across several departments in DLA and ended when the Air Force transportation office delivered the satellite system to the DRMS TESS yard in Bagram.
For each mission, the J-6E team chooses a different team name.
"For this mission we called ourselves 'Team 4th E.' [That] comes from Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, whose fundamentals for excellence included the concept of four Es — energy, energize, edge, execution [and passion]. We are good at all of those, but nothing matters unless you can execute that fourth E, and that is what we do," Lee said.
Although Team 4th E had installed the system in other locations, each Tachyon system is physically unique and has different requirements for installation. This particular system had been preconfigured for another location, which meant that the team had to ensure that the correct hardware and software were available for conditions in Bagram.
As expected, conditions in Bagram were primitive and challenging.
"[One logistical hurdle] was the extreme cold — below freezing — which we were subject to for 12 to 14 hours a day as we installed the system," Lee said.
THE BAGRAM DRMO
The Tachyon system will allow DRMS personnel at Bagram to access the DRMS intranet, which gives them links to the applications vital to their day-to-day operations and to the DAISY/VIPER property accounting system, which they use to track DRMS inventory.
"This installation was more challenging than the other ones in Iraq … especially the couple of nights when we had to work until midnight and later to get the job done and coordinate with support assets in Germany and Battle Creek, Mich.," Lee said.
Lee added that there was no heat at the site, which was the top of a cargo container. The team had to connect the Tachyon system to three computer workstations located in nearby wooden buildings.
The Bagram DRMO opened Dec. 16, 2005. The successful installation of this system was one of the last steps to make the DRMO completely functional.
"I couldn't be prouder of the hard work and dedication of all the team members who helped make this mission a success. We've had a lot of obstacles to overcome, and we're still working through some issues at this point in time. But, we're here to take on this mission and our customers couldn't be happier with our presence in Afghanistan," Dreska said.
"The success of this mission is a clear indication that DLA organizations work well together and are committed to 'one team, one fight,'" Lee said.