Tobyhanna Army Depot Equipment Repair and Development a Constant, Evolving Mission

For more than six decades, artisans at Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) have been at the forefront of repairing and employing automatic test equipment (ATE)to diagnose and test military equipment. That mission continues today, underscoring Tobyhanna’s commitment to supporting the joint warfighters of the past, present and future.

ATE refers to test hardware with its own operating system software that enables users to assess the functionality of a weapons system, detect quality issues, and ensure applied corrective actions have been successful. The use of ATE benefits the depot in a variety of ways, from increasing the quality of repairs to reducing internal turnaround times and beyond.

Historical records show a huge surge in ATE at Tobyhanna in the early 2000s. The increased need for ATE came after a significant amount of new workload arrived at the depot; the workload transitioned to TYAD after a Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which was focused on divesting excess capacity and property within the Department of Defense.

TYAD’s ATE repair workload has represented one of its most constant but always evolving initiatives. For example, the Electronic Quality Assurance Test Equipment (also called the EQUATE system) has been a TYAD mission for over three decades. Used by servicemembers worldwide, the EQUATE is a test station used for multiple types of testing for wire assemblies in support of counterfire radar missions.

Investments into ATE programs like the EQUATE are particularly fruitful for the depot because the positive results are two-pronged. In repairing, maintaining, and sustaining ATE, TYAD enjoys consistent workload that directly impacts readiness and saves lives. The maintenance of these systems also allows the depot to apply the testing capabilities of the ATE to other products depot artisans are preparing for our nation’s warfighters.

The benefits of ATE utilization are many. If one were to walk through the plethora of production floor areas at TYAD today, several instruments used to perform tests on workload both old and new can be seen. These instruments help to ensure every asset being provided to our nation’s warfighters is up to the lofty Tobyhanna standard through increased efficiency and accuracy.

Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to ATE. It will rack up multiple instruments and put it under PC control, eliminating the possibility of human error and centralizing several tests under one umbrella. It is capable of performing various tests at once even if the systems aren’t exactly the same, reducing the time it takes to ensure compliance across multiple workloads.

In order to mitigate unforeseen issues, ATE can also be used to proactively ensure systems are functioning the way they are intended. This offers artisans at TYAD a huge boost in efficiency as they can be certain no time is being wasted by assembling something that has issues.

Electronics Engineer David Zahorsky said the use of ATE helps alleviate the load on an employee’s shoulders.

“In some shops, you may see individual instruments used to test specific things. For example, say you need to make a voltage measurement and you need to manually input a lot of information. The beauty of automatic test equipment is that you can automate all of those tests,” said Zahorsky. “For the purpose of completing an entire test document, it reduces the burden on technician personnel to have to make those individual tests. It also reduces mistakes that could potentially be made by missing a test or something like reading an instrument.”

ATE utilization and the development of test program sets (TPS) can also be used as a means to see around corners when navigating systems and preparing to take on new workload. By frequently running self-test alignments the individuals working on the production floor can hit the ground running and start properly testing the technological components necessary for the equipment to function correctly.

Just as assets change to meet the needs of the warfighter on an ever-evolving battlefield, so must the test procedures evolve. Combined hands-on and software repair and troubleshooting works in synergy with proactive TPS development and transition to ensure TYAD remains on the cutting edge into the future.

TPS development is a key activity during the transition to sustainment for military assets, streamlining the repair process. Test Engineering Branch Chief Matthew Rhoades and his team build test programs to support new assets and workload. Four TPSs are being developed during the onboarding of the MQ-9 Reaper workload, according to Rhoades.

“The TPSs developed in conjunction with public-private partnerships with L3Harris and General Atomics enable TYAD’s electronics personnel to screen LRUs at the beginning of the process to identify where the asset requires repair. Once repair is complete, assets are tested to validate the repair, ensuring the warfighter receives a quality product – every time.”

While Rhoades and his team work to either build new TPSs or rehost them on new ATE, Production Equipment Branch Chief Wayne Swire and his team keep equipment up and running. Swire said the key to sustained ATE success for Tobyhanna lies in the present.

“The key is having the capability in-house. By adding to our capabilities in the present, TYAD best positions itself to support warfighters on an evolving battlefield,” said Swire.

In many ways, the future of ATE has already arrived at TYAD. The last couple of years have been marked by transition from legacy and sustainment systems like the EQUATE to new systems like the Air Force-standard Versatile Diagnostic Automatic Test Station (VDATS) and the Army-standard Next Generation Automated Test System (NGATS). While VDATSs have been at TYAD for a decade, the depot is scheduled to receive its first full rate production NGATSs this year. The VDATS has supported the aforementioned MQ-9 Reaper and depot personnel are ready to hit the ground running once the NGATS arrives to provide TPS capability for the AN/TPQ-53 Radar System.

The utilization of ATE and the development of TPSs in conjunction with the precision and dedication of depot artisans ensures TYAD will continue to deliver on that mission now and into the future.

The repair, sustainment, and development of ATE and TPSs directly aligns with Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2035, which has four focus areas: Invest 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.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Recognizes Servicemember as Warfighter of the Quarter

Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) recently had the privilege of honoring another distinguished servicemember with the Warfighter of the Quarter award.

The Warfighter of the Quarter award acknowledges the relationship between employees at TYAD and the servicemembers who selflessly dedicate themselves to serving our nation, living lives consistent with the Army core values, and being good stewards of their communities.

The honoree for the 4th quarter of 2023 is Sgt. 1st Class Albert J. Avila, who received the distinction during a midgame ceremony at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Military Appreciation Night hockey game. As part of the Penguins’ salute to our nation’s heroes, members of Team Tobyhanna displayed a military vehicle and shared information about TYAD’s mission with game attendees. Additionally, Sgt. 1st Class Avila performed a ceremonial puck drop to start the game and Janet Warnick of TYAD’s Installation Services directorate provided a rendition of “God Bless America.”

Currently, Sgt. 1st Class Avila is assigned to the Scranton Army Recruiting Station in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He is the recipient of seven Army Achievement Medals, two Army Commendations, and a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

TYAD Sgt. Maj. Michael S. Riggs joined Depot Commander Col. James L. Crocker in presenting the latest Warfighter of the Quarter award. Sgt. Maj. Riggs highlighted the significance of the honor and emphasized the respect he has for Sgt. 1st Class Avila and his work.

“The Warfighter of the Quarter award provides TYAD an opportunity to recognize servicemembers who are doing good work. It allows for engagement with the local community and the military community in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Sgt. Maj. Riggs. “This gives us an opportunity to reward Sgt. 1st Class Avila’s example of dedication to duty and work for the community that might otherwise go unnoticed.”

Sgt. 1st Class Avila said receiving the award was a tremendous privilege that made him proud of his commitment to the Armed Forces.

“Receiving the TYAD Warfighter of the Quarter Award is an immense honor, deeply affirming my commitment to the United States Army Reserve and my role as an Army Recruiter,” said Sgt. 1st Class Avila. “It’s incredibly gratifying to be recognized for successfully assisting others in achieving their goals, as my work brings me great satisfaction in knowing I’m making a difference in their lives.”

While assigned to the Scranton Army Recruiting Station as an Army Ambassador, Sgt. 1st Class Avila distinguished himself by displaying professionalism and dedication to duty, keeping with the finest traditions of military service. Some specific achievements include his orchestration of seven Future Soldier promotions for members of the Delayed Entry Program (a program designed to accommodate new enlistees into the United States Armed Forces before shipping out to basic training), his development and implementation of a transformative weight loss program that assisted civilians in meeting Army physical requirements, and providing education for seven high school guidance counselor offices on the March2Success program, an online program that helps individuals reach their civilian or Army educational goals.

1st Lt. Thomas Gascoigne works alongside Sgt. 1st Class Avila at the Scranton Army Recruiting Station. He said his impact has gone further than just the organization.

“Sgt. 1st Class Avila goes above and beyond the normal scope of duties that recruiters perform,” said 1st Lt. Gascoigne. “Sgt. 1st Class Avila is not only an asset to our organization, but he is an asset to his community as well.”

The Warfighter of the Quarter award and other employee recognition programs align with Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2035 – specifically the Connecting with the Community line of effort. The goal of Tobyhanna Army Depot’s plan is to strive to position Tobyhanna for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense’s premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Highlights Hobbies of Employees During National Hobby Month

January is National Hobby Month – an opportunity to celebrate the unique ways The Tobyhanna Army Depot finds joy and fulfillment in their personal lives.

Gabrielle Dutz from the Resource Management Directorate likely has one of the most creative cubicles on the installation. Posted all over is just a portion of her postcard collection, which is a hobby she has enjoyed for a number of years.

Dutz said that even as a child, she was into collecting. Once upon a time she had a playing card and a magnet collection. Nowadays she primarily collects postcards but has a t-shirt collection from places she’s visited as well. She said that she gravitated towards postcards due to their low price point and that they serve as reminder of previous trips and events to come.

Dutz has always considered herself a creative individual. While in college, she decorated her dorm with photo collages, to include postcards. This served as somewhat of an inspiration to decorate her workspace at TYAD the same way. She said that having her postcards on display at work serves as a good way to enjoy her hobby even while supporting the warfighter.

“I’ve always collected little things along the way and I really love souvenirs. I just had all of these post cards hanging around in boxes so I thought why not bring them to work,” said Dutz. “They are a nice reminder of life outside and things to look forward to like a trip or an event. It is just cheap little trinket to remember things.”

Dutz said that although she loves collecting postcards, she likes to acquire them naturally and isn’t often browsing resale sites for them. As someone who enjoys traveling, she said a lot of her collection comes from places she has visited, citing their easy accessibility as one of the main drivers for grabbing them in gift shops wherever she is visiting at that time. She said it is usually the uniqueness of the card design that helps her chooses which to bring home.

Dutz added that, as a music fan, one particularly special postcard she owns is themed after the rock band “Grateful Dead.” She said this vintage postcard is special as it was a gift from her mom and isn’t easy to come by.

“We keep it in the vault and only bring it out on special occasions,” joked Dutz.

Dutz said that at the end of the day, looking at her postcard collection enriches her life and gets her excited for the next fun event she is attending.

“You always need that next trip or that concert or that next thing on your calendar to look forward to and my collection helps me do that,” said Dutz. “It is kind like the thrill of the hunt. You’re somewhere, you’re out, you see stuff and you want to grab it. When you go on a trip you hope to take a souvenir home but you want find that right thing. Having the collection makes it more purposeful spending. You’re not just buying things to buy things. It marries that practical side with also looking for a cool visual or creative thing. That really drives me.”

According to Ryan Beilman, life is better behind the wheel of a Volkswagen (VW). A lifelong fan of “things with wheels,” Beilman is particularly enthusiastic about VWs and has owned more than 45 different VW vehicles in the past 20 years. A white 1978 VW Rabbit was the springboard for Beilman’s obsession, which focuses on vehicles manufactured prior to the year 2000. He says these “pre2K” vehicles (as they are colloquially called in the VW community) are just more fun.

“I like having a car I can work on – one that has the traditional ‘vehicle’ smells and sounds.”

A dearth of quality VW-related events led Beilman to take on the role of community organizer in 2010. Since then, he’s spearheaded dozens of meetups and car cruises with other VW enthusiasts from across the Northeast, eventually leading him to partner with others to launch a yearly weekend-long VW event in Wildwood, N.J. Beilman takes pride that the event facilitates a positive environment for VW collectors of all ages.

“Our event, focused on “pre2K” VWs, is not just about looking at cool cars. We strive to create an authentic space where people in the community can enjoy vendors, learning from others, and meetups – in a wholesome way. As a parent myself, I really appreciate the opportunity to share what I love with my wife and daughters, and I am proud to have a hand in letting others do the same,” he explained.

When he’s not meeting in person with other VW enthusiasts, he co-hosts a podcast focused on “pre2K” VWs. Over the course of 100-plus episodes, the podcast has featured others active in the VW community, technical experts and even a representative from VW Group of America. Despite having owned a lifetime’s worth of VWs, Beilman notes that there’s still a “white whale” that eludes him: the extremely rare and valuable 23-window VW bus, a vehicle he hopes to obtain and restore sometime in the future.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Master Scheduler Steve Gardner’s mother said he’s had a love for drumming since childhood. Gardner’s first drumming experience came on a familiar, but unorthodox, drum set – pots and pans. Gardner was keen to turn anything he could into a drum set.

“I’ve always had an affinity for the drums, and I remember listening to 8-tracks as a kid and using tent poles to pretend I was playing drums on my pillows on my bed,” said Gardner.

Although drumming seems to have been in his DNA, Gardner said he discovered his ability for drumming in the early 90s while over his friend Roger’s house.

Roger was a guitarist and he and his family were big country music fans. Roger pulled a drum set from the attic and started playing “Sweet Home Alabama” on his guitar while Gardner started playing a drumbeat.

It came naturally to Gardner, who said, “I didn’t really know I could play the drums, but it just kind of happened.”

When presented with a choice between a computer and a drum set, Gardner’s choice was obvious.

Around 30 years removed from that impromptu jam session, Gardner has been drumming ever since. He has showcased his talents in several bands ranging from country to metal to mainstream rock. Gardner highlighted two bands, Whiskey Tango and Soul Satellite, as particularly successful endeavors. His drumming has seen him play several venues, including Tobyhanna Army Depot once during a Pittsburgh Steelers pep rally held during break time.

The diversity of projects Gardner has participated in speaks to his eclectic taste and genuine appreciation for music.

“I’ve always loved music and playing the drums is very therapeutic. When you’re playing, it turns the volume down on everything else. I love playing, being creative, coming up with something new and just having a good time.”

Much like any band couldn’t work without a drummer keeping the beat, Team Tobyhanna can only reach its full potential when following an efficient battle rhythm.

Gardner said his hobbies make him a better member of Team Tobyhanna. Gardner is passionate about the work he does at Tobyhanna Army Depot and is proud of the impact Team Tobyhanna has on our nation’s warfighters. He said his hobbies allow him to be creative and curious in his downtime, and channel that into a heightened focus during working hours.

“Having any kind of hobby helps you with your work because that’s your downtime, that’s your therapy. If you have a frustrating, exciting or stressful day, it helps balance out the day.”

When he’s not on the stage or behind a drum set, you can find Gardner spending time with his wife and two kids, playing golf and riding his motorcycle.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Names Supervisor of the Quarter

Since joining Team Tobyhanna, Paula Mesaris has worked in multiple positions and pursued continuous learning opportunities whenever possible. Due to her effective leadership skills and strong body of work, she has been honored as Tobyhanna Army Depot’s (TYAD) latest Supervisor of the Quarter.

Mesaris came to TYAD in 2006 following a job as a postal worker. She began her depot career working in what was then a combined safety and environmental office. After 10 years in that position, she was named Chief of what is now the Environmental Branch in November of 2016.

Mesaris and her team manage all of the environmental compliance programs for TYAD while also focusing on sustainability and conservation. They strive to ensure the depot remains in compliance with federal, state, and U.S. Army regulations in regard to cultural resources, hazardous waste, natural resources, pollution prevention, energy, pest management and solid waste/recycling programs.

Under Mesaris’ leadership, the environmental team earned the 2023 Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for water resiliency through wastewater treatment technology. This award comes in addition to the Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award for Exceptional Achievement in Water Efficiency the depot received in February 2023. Additionally, she oversaw TYAD’s participation as an Army Pilot site for a cooperative program centered on Environmental Justice which included representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force.

Mesaris has also spearheaded multiple depot clean-up events, to include the 2023 Earth Day clean up event. During this event, 110 members of Team Tobyhanna collected 142 bags of trash with other debris such as metal, wood, plastic, rubber, etc.

Mesaris said when she got the news about receiving the award, it came as a big surprise.

“It is such an honor. I was very surprised. It was very unexpected,” said Mesaris” “You kind of just go about your job and then when something like this happens it is nice that somebody notices that your team is performing well.”

Mesaris thanked her team above all, saying that no supervisor can earn such an award without a strong group of people around them.

“When you look back, you don’t remember the tasks you did over the years, you remember the people you worked with. I don’t think anybody can win this award without a really awesome team and I’m very blessed to have one,” said Mesaris. We have a lot of new team members that are very gung-ho and are very environmentally conscious. They are about their job and about serving the depot and it is just a great pleasure to have a team like that. They make it pleasant to come into work because I have people that care.”

Environmental Engineer Amalia Thomas praised Mesaris for her strong leadership skills and people-first mentality.

“Paula is a fantastic and dedicated supervisor. She always has a happy face on and is always willing to help you out,” said Thomas. “She strives for growth of her employees and has the utmost respect for her colleagues. Paula is there when you need her.”

Mesaris said she has always been a strong proponent for pursuing learning opportunities. Throughout her career, she has been involved with the Combined Federal Campaign, COVID Trace Team, TOBY2035 Line-of-Effort teams, the Peer-to-Peer program and more in addition to her typical duties in the spirit of learning as much as she can. She is actively in the process of earning her master’s degree from Marywood University to go alongside her bachelors degree from the same school.

Mesaris credited the strong leadership she has received throughout her career as her reason for trying new things.

“I have always had really great support from my leadership teams,” said Mesaris. “I’ve always received encouragement to take a leap and pursue something that was out of my comfort zone. Having mentors like that definitely helped and made an impact on me throughout my career.”

TYAD’s Chief of Public Works James Wisnewski serves as Mesaris’ supervisor. He lauded her for being incredibly reliable and willing to do what it takes to get the job done.

“Paula is an exemplary employee, mission minded, organization focused and willing to go to great efforts to ensure TYAD’s success,” said Wisnewski. She is a well-respected and dependable member of TYAD’s supervisory workforce and is always willing to assist without hesitation.”

The Supervisor of the Quarter award – and its companion Employee of the Quarter awards – are TOBY2035 initiatives aligned with the Invest in Our People line of effort. The plan, which has three additional focus areas, strives to position Tobyhanna for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense’s premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Recognizes Latest Employees of the Quarter

Over 3,100 individuals make up Tobyhanna Army Depot’s world-class workforce. Although many of which are worthy of praise, each quarter two employees are named the junior and senior employees of the quarter. For the 4th quarter of 2023, it is Mr. Zachary Long of the Installation Services directorate and Ms. Kristina Nolan of the Resource Management directorate receiving the honors respectively.

Nolan’s career at TYAD defines the idea of “working your way up.” After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Education from Marywood University, she took a job as a Teacher Assistant at Tobyhanna’s on-post Children and Youth center. After two years, she moved into a position supporting to the mission side of TYAD’s operations, working a total of four years as a secretary in the C4ISR and Field Logistics Support directorates.

About halfway through her time as a secretary, she decided to return to college to further her education. Having always had an interest in computers, she was encouraged to pursue a master’s degree in IT Cyber Security from Capella University. It was while earning this degree that she applied for and received the opportunity to work in TYAD’s Information Management Division as an IT Specialist.

Nolan’s employee of the quarter award comes two years into her time as an IT Specialist. She said receiving this distinction is a tremendous accomplishment.

“It is a big accomplishment definitely. It shows that the hard work I have done to this point and will continue to do is recognized and is respected and that means a lot to me,” said Nolan. “Because I know this isn’t just a “my department” kind of an award, it means that I am recognized across the depot for the work I have put in and the things I have accomplished up to this point so that means a lot to me.”

Cyber Security Enterprise Branch (CESB) Chief Sean Hannan serves as Nolan’s supervisor. He lauded her not only for consistently seeking opportunities to better herself, but also her dedication to TYAD’s mission.

“Ms. Nolan’s dedication to mission success was nothing short of exceptional, consistently exceeding her daily mission requirements with unwavering diligence. Throughout this quarter, she took on increased responsibilities and requirements, showcasing a remarkable commitment to surpassing current duties and contributing to the overarching mission objectives of TYAD,” said Hannan. “Not only did she embrace these additional tasks willingly, but she also proactively sought out knowledge to educate herself on the necessary mission systems, demonstrating her selflessness and determination to ensure successful execution.”

Hannan also credited Nolan for serving as a helping hand to her colleagues. After she spearheaded a recent network coverage initiative, she took the time to impart essential knowledge to her teammates, guiding and training them in the proficient utilization of mission systems that were critical to success. She credited developing this mindset to mentors she’s worked with through her time at TYAD.

Nolan said that, in her line of work, being a team player is essential.

“Especially in our department, we definitely have to be cohesive as a team. There’s such a diversity of skills among the team in the CSEB and we help each other to balance all our skills as a community to achieve success. To teach newcomers or people just coming into that department all of the ins and outs and getting accesses and everything is very important,” said Nolan. “There is just so much happening on a daily basis that is behind the scenes that our department has to shift gears quickly so being able to help out in any of the areas and being well rounded in each of the skills helps everyone a lot.”

Nolan credited team in the CSEB for her success.

“I owe a lot to the team I work with in CSEB, they are a group of incredible people, with such knowledge and skillsets,” said Nolan. “Their willingness to share knowledge and communicate so well is a definite contribution to the success of the department and the depot. They’re just a great group of people to work with and for.”

Long is receiving the honor in recognition of a unique maintenance and tracking program he created that is being utilized at TYAD. The creation of this program was a cross-functional effort with the Equipment and Supply Branch that required he go beyond his typical scope of work.

Lancelot Ottley is a supervisor within the Installation Services directorate. He said the initiative Long took to create this program benefits not only the team he works with, but the depot as a whole.

“Long’s exemplary handling of administrative matters attested to his professional knowledge, willingness to accept responsibility, attention to detail, and the ability to adapt himself to any situation,” said Ottley. “His ambitiousness in establishing and managing this program has motivated his peers and increases overall readiness status and sustainability.”

The Employee of the Quarter awards and other employee recognition programs align with Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2035 – specifically the Investing In Our People line of effort. The plan aims to posture the depot for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense’s premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

Tobyhanna Army Depot to Construct New Army Family Housing

As part of Tobyhanna Army Depot’s (TYAD) ongoing modernization efforts, 26 of the 28 homes that make up military housing in the development quaintly known as Tobyhanna Pines are to be demolished and replaced with 35 new homes to better accommodate the military population in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The homes that comprise Tobyhanna Pines were constructed in 1978. As times changed, so have the needs of the average family and soldier. The homes, while functional, became unable to accommodate some modern amenities due to their age. After the U.S. Army conducted a housing market analysis at TYAD, they concluded that an increase to 37 homes was necessary to accommodate the regional military population. These factors led to the decision to level all but two of the existing homes and build new ones, bringing the grand total of military homes on post to 37. The two homes that will remain standing were built in 2011, so it was deemed unnecessary to remove them.

The name of the military housing development will change from Tobyhanna Pines to Cadence Communities at Tobyhanna. The project is part of the U.S. Army’s Small Installation Privatization Initiative to revitalize military housing across the country which includes the Natick Soldier Systems Center, U.S. Army Garrison-Miami, Rock Island Arsenal, Fort McCoy and Fort Hunter Liggett in addition to TYAD. The Army has reserved $37.6 million for the purposes of reconstructing the housing footprint at the depot.

Colleen Gavin serves as Family Housing and Barracks Manager at TYAD. She said the construction of Cadence Communities at Tobyhanna will be a tremendous help for military families having a permanent change of station to Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“This is a huge milestone for Tobyhanna. This project is part of the commitment made by the Army, the leaders of Tobyhanna and the housing partners to improve the quality of life for our military families here in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Gavin. “We are excited to announce these projects and we will continue to take an active role knowing how our soldiers live while retaining quality oversight and providing support to soldiers, families and units.”

TYAD’s Director of Installation Services William Ramey agreed, adding that the project will serve as a great way to embrace military families and welcome them back into the community.

“Our Army family housing project will be of great benefit for soldiers and their families stationed at Tobyhanna who work in and around our region. New homes on our installation will provide access to fitness facilities, a child development center, multiple military family programs, and a commissary all while living in the attractive Pocono Mountain region,” said Ramey. “We are happy to see this project moving forward in this fiscal year and are excited to welcome our military families back to TYAD.”

The Army has named multinational construction and real estate company Lendlease as the partner for Cadence Communities. The company, who has worked with the privatization of military housing in the country since 2009 and is one of the highest rated partners in the military structure, signed a 50-year lease with the Army to maintain these properties. 90 percent of the revenue generated from the new homes will go into a reinvestment account to be utilized when an event such as home repairs or the addition of more homes occur. The decision to privatize falls in line with that of most military housing in the continental U.S.

Gavin added that the new homes will not only benefit military families, but programs at TYAD as well.

“Housing on the garrison should be a soldier’s first option. Not just for housing purposes, but for other on-post programs like daycare, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the Post Exchange, the Commissary and more. The on-post population helps build and sustain those programs,” said Gavin, noting that the growth of these programs benefits all who use them. “The programs and amenities on this garrison are important to a soldier’s quality of life and it really is what defines what Army or military life looks like for them. It also benefits readiness and retention. Soldiers may choose to stay because they have all the resources here. That is so important to the lifecycle of a soldier and family.”

Having served in the military, Ramey agreed with Gavin’s sentiment that peace of mind for a soldier is extremely valuable.

“As a former soldier myself, I understand first-hand the importance of knowing your family is safe, secure, and has access to the best services possible,” said Ramey. “Living on military installations was a positive experience for my family due to the convenience and community building it afforded us.”

The plan is to build 16 four-bedroom and 18 three-bedroom homes along with a single four-bedroom home that is complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act. As homes are constructed, military families will be able to move in. Department of Defense civilians and retirees will be eligible to move into the homes as long as 95% of the occupancy is made up of active-duty military.

TYAD’s Chief of Public Works James Wisnewski said that not only is this a great opportunity to modernize, but to continue building a military community in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“With the boom in the housing market, particularly in this area of the Pocono Mountains, this project will provide modern, affordable housing to our service members,” said Wisnewski. “Working in coordination with our private housing partner, this project will provide not only homes, but a military community on Tobyhanna.”

Tobyhanna Pines is tentatively scheduled to be demolished in February 2024 and the Cadence Communities project in its entirety is slated to be complete in July of 2025.

In addition to the family housing effort, Gavin added that a future plan is in place to completely renovate TYAD’s existing barracks. Built in 1953, the barracks are used to house units training on-post.

Fostering quality and accessible housing for our military community is a TOBY2035 Invest in Our People and C5ISR Readiness initiative. Tobyhanna Army Depot’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2035 strives to position Tobyhanna for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense’s premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

TYAD 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, postproduction software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,200 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 Army Depot Equips Frontline Fighters

Soldiers in the field have access to the latest Army technology, all thanks to Tobyhanna Army Depot.

The organization is now the depot source of repair for the Integrated Air and Missile Battle Command System, or IBCS, a vital “supersystem” that consolidates several air and missile defense command and control functions into a single network. Its open infrastructure allows the integration of various functionalities, enabling Soldiers to consolidate and sort through information more quickly for sound decision-making. The launch of the IBCS represents a transformational strategy for the Army as it moves towards arming Soldiers for the multi-domain battlefield.

While the system won’t fully transition to Tobyhanna until 2026, depot personnel are currently providing forward support to units with IBCSs – and recently provided emergency fabrication support to ensure field readiness for Soldiers.

Earlier this year, several IBCSs were discovered to be inoperable at Forts Bliss and Cavazos because they lacked simple operational cables. The cables, used to power up environmental control units part of IBCS Engagement Operations Centers, were unavailable on the open market – leaving soldiers and the Integrated Fires Mission Command with few options.

Upon hearing about the need for cabling, a specialty of the talented artisans at Tobyhanna, depot personnel jumped at the opportunity to assist. The Systems Integration and Support Directorate’s Preproduction & Development Branch worked closely with design engineers and logisticians to quickly create a prototype of the cable. Once the cable had passed through the necessary approval channels, the cables were produced in just five working days. From the first phone call to project completion, only 60 days passed — a cooperative feat Preproduction & Development Branch Chief Jesse Tutino and his team take great pride in.

“We have a cohesive team here at Tobyhanna that allows us to overcome challenges to meet our customers’ requirements. For this project, we developed a strong team with the technical skills to provide one-off, quick turnaround, fabrication services with exceptional quality.”

Two members of the quick reaction team were recognized for their efforts by Caleb Nabors, product manager, Integrated Fires Mission Command Hardware during a visit to the depot earlier this fall. Nabors presented Clyde Walts of the Systems Integration and Support Directorate and Matthew Check of the Production Engineering Directorate with ceremonial coins, honoring their outstanding support of the IBCS program.

In addition to the emergency cable support, Tobyhanna has entered into a public-private partnership with Northrop Grumman to fabricate additional assemblies for the IBCS system.

Joseph Lynn, a logistics management specialist in Tobyhanna’s Strategic Initiatives Office, says the unplanned project will undoubtedly lead to more workload for the depot.

“Because we had the opportunity to showcase our responsiveness and capabilities before the mission ‘officially’ started, our partners are already looking to expand our involvement in the effort.”

More than 440 IBCS assets will be supported through the lifetime of the sustainment program.

Support for the IBCS is a critical part of warfighter readiness, and the mission directly aligns with Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2035, which 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.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Recognizes Jeffrey Compton

When it comes to leadership, Tobyhanna Army Depot’s Personnel Management Division Chief Jeffrey Compton is always looking for ways he can grow his team so that they can achieve whatever career goals they have. For his dedication to the organization’s mission and his employees, Compton has recently been named TYAD’s latest Supervisor of the Quarter.

Compton, who received the honor for the third quarter of 2023, has over 30 years of federal service under his belt. From February 1992 to August 2012, he served as a member of the United States Marine Corps. While serving, he took advantage of the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program which offered him the chance to go to a four-year college full-time, while maintaining active duty status and pay. Always having had an interest in accounting, he earned an accounting degree and then attended Naval Post-Graduate School to earn a Defense Industry focused MBA.

Upon his retirement from the Marine Corps, Compton transitioned to providing Financial Management for the Headquarters Marine Corps Intelligence Department. Two years later, he returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania and took a job with the Federal Bureau of Prisons before joining Team Tobyhanna in December of 2017. In his nearly six years at TYAD, he worked as a member of the budget team and the Financial Analysis Division before moving into his current role as Chief of the Personnel Management Division (PMD).

When the PMD team was faced with an unexpected challenge this year, Compton worked with leadership so that requirements were clearly communicated up and down the chain of command. Under his direction, he ensured the problem was solved in an expeditious manner by regularly going the extra mile despite any hurdles that blocked his team’s path.

Compton strongly believes in the idea of working as a team. When the PMD was facing these challenges, he emphasized that it wasn’t just him that got the problem solved. It was the effort and support of an entire group coming together to collaboratively solve an issue.

“I didn’t do anything. The team did everything,” said Compton. “They understand the diverse work that is done across the board to support each other in their work. It was really the team and the team’s dedication to come in and execute their programs that made everything work.”

Compton continued to credit the team he works with, stating that he does what he can to encourage them to be leaders themselves.

“Teams, a lot of times, are one-deep in what they do but every one of those teammates steps up and acknowledges that a lot of he programs they run affect the entire depot. I encourage them to take ownership of their programs and to execute their programs,” said Compton. “It is really the team that makes everything go. From a leadership perspective, it is very important to me personality-wise and my leadership style to be supportive of the teammate and to remove any hurdles that they may have from executing their work and getting everything done.”

Director of Resource Management at TYAD Patricia Kratzer lauded Compton for his dedication to TYAD’s mission and willingness to make sure the job is always done right.

“Jeff sets a great example to peers and subordinates by exhibiting dedication, integrity, and a strong work ethic,” said Kratzer. “He makes himself available and provides guidance to his team daily. He understands his significance to mission execution and takes his responsibility as Chief of PMD very seriously.”

Emphasizing personal and professional development is a practice Compton leads with on a daily basis. He said he often challenges his team to ask their own questions, be confident in viewing problems from their own perspective, and to consider different perspectives and how would they change their response depending on that different view. He said he believes challenging open-ended questions helps people grow.

“My goal in leadership is to help develop people and help them in their career as they progress through with whatever their goals, wishes, desires are,” said Compton. “I would not mind that my entire team gets promoted out to take on new opportunities. That turnover is a result of professional development and those folks becoming ready to take that next step, if they so choose.”

Kratzer added that Compton ensures those working on his team are set up for success whether it is today or into the future.

“Those around Jeff respect him and follow his lead. On numerous occasions, he held one on one discussions with several of his team members that required, and benefited from, additional coaching, reassurance, and direction,” said Kratzer. ”He also actively supported several TOBY2035 initiatives during the quarter that focused on people and readiness … and met with peers to discuss challenges and opportunities shared as means of leadership development.”

The Supervisor of the Quarter award – and its companion Employee of the Quarter awards – are TOBY2035 initiatives aligned with the Invest in Our People line of effort. The plan, which has three additional focus areas, strives to position Tobyhanna for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense’s premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Packaging Center Chief Gives Back

“It’s simple – I just like helping others.”

For John Fitzpatrick it really is that simple. Service is at the core of who he is and what he does in his professional and personal life.

Graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1983, Fitzpatrick was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in military intelligence. Fitzpatrick served in a variety of assignments at Fort Cavazos (formerly Fort Hood) in the 1st Cavalry Division, attended a post-graduate intelligence program and earned his master’s in 1987 and was stationed at Fort Monmouth before leaving the Army in 1990.

Service being a pillar in his life, Fitzpatrick almost immediately felt the pull to serve his nation again.

“I always felt a call to go back and serve. I had intended to go into the National Guard at that point, but they weren’t taking on new service members at the time.”

With the desire to serve his nation still burning bright, the opportunity Fitzpatrick had been waiting for presented itself after nearly two decades. In 2009, Fitzpatrick joined Team Tobyhanna as a contractor before moving to the Army Sustainment Command Packaging Storage and Containerization Center (PSCC) as a Packaging Specialist in 2010. PSCC is a tenant organization operating at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

Working his way up to Chief of PSCC’s Logistics, Testing and Applications Division in 2015, Fitzpatrick has enjoyed a second chance to serve his nation as a member of a dynamic team supporting warfighter readiness.

“I enjoy that I get to work with a bunch of talented subject matter experts in a variety of areas in packaging, testing, warehouse optimization and AIT technology. That’s very rewarding and equally as rewarding is still having the opportunity to get out and interact with soldiers and get down to supply activities and make a difference there,” said Fitzpatrick.

But the military service Fitzpatrick has offered to our nation is just the tip of the iceberg. For many people, the question is ‘How can I find time to serve?’. For Fitzpatrick, it seems service comes first, and any leisure activities fall into line second.

Fitzpatrick attributes his and his family’s commitment to service to the example set by his father.

“Selfless service was the chief value my father instilled in me. I am (my family’s) third generation to serve in the Armed Forces, and my son is the fourth generation. The example of my father served as my first impetus to give back,” said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick is a prolific blood donor, donating 75 gallons over four decades of giving. He was first exposed to the need for blood at a young age through his father’s work as a police officer and captain of the local first aid squad.

Fitzpatrick first donated during his time in the Army in the 1980s and began donating at Miller Keystone Blood Center (MKBC) in 1999. He is particularly passionate about donating through MKBC since it is the sole blood supplier to 33 hospitals in areas in which Team Tobyhanna employees reside. MKBC also supports our military servicemembers and offers its Veterans Still Serving Program, through which it presents MKBC Challenge Coins to veterans who donate.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one blood donation can save up to three lives. This means Fitzpatrick’s donations have had the potential to save thousands of lives, including those of his fellow members of Team Tobyhanna.

Currently, Fitzpatrick donates platelets every two weeks, 24 times a year. In order to accommodate his and his wife’s other service initiatives including vegetable donations, Fitzpatrick plans his donations around his days off to maximize the impact he can create through his service.

“I try to do blood platelet donations on my RDO Friday because Saturdays from June to October are occupied delivering vegetable donations. My wife runs a program called Plant a Row – Lehigh Valley. We deliver the vegetables to about a half dozen different soup kitchens and food banks, so that’s my Saturday, and Wreaths Across America is another effort I get involved with.”

Fitzpatrick has taken his passion for blood donation and brought it to others through the organization of blood drives at his parish. Fitzpatrick said he has been organizing blood drives for over a decade. Over the years, his parish has become a relied upon source of blood for his area.

Fitzpatrick pointed to blood donation as a particular passion because of the constant need for blood and the meaningful impact it can have.

“Right now, there’s a national emergency. They’re looking for O positive and O negative donors. They’re running the risk of running out of blood, so I’m hoping I can convince some people to step up to donate. It’s not hard, and it’s not a lot of time considering the impact that it can have.”

Fitzpatrick said only a fraction of those eligible to donate blood do and encouraged those who may have been previously ineligible to donate to check the updated FDA guidelines as they may now be eligible.

When asked how he makes time for everything, Fitzpatrick offered some valuable perspective.

“I look at it this way. The time you spend donating platelets is just a couple of hours sitting in a chair at a blood donation center, or if it’s just blood it’s an hour in a chair. Just imagine, if you’re the parents of a child in the emergency room that needs blood, and you’re sitting there, too. Where would you rather be?”

Fitzpatrick truly embodies the Army core values, particularly selfless service. Through his service to our nation’s warfighters at work and his service to his community, he is living the values impressed upon him by his father as a young man.

Depot employees may sign up for monthly on-post Red Cross blood drives by calling (570) 615-7308. To find a blood donation site near you, visit: https://www.giveapint.org/ or https://www.redcrossblood.org/local-homepage.html.

Tobyhanna Army Depot Recognized at SAGE Awards

Sustained excellence in community involvement earned Tobyhanna Army Depot recognition from the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce at their Scranton Awards for Growth and Excellence (SAGE) ceremony on November 3.

The annual SAGE Awards honor the outstanding efforts, talent, creativity, and innovation of businesses in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Eligible applications are judged by a diverse group of community leaders in ten categories, ranging from “Business of the Year” to “Customer Service Excellence” and beyond. The “People’s Choice Award” is determined through online voting by the general public during a set window.

For the second year in a row, Tobyhanna’s initiatives in connecting with the community were recognized, this time with the “Community Involvement Excellence” award, which celebrates a business that has made outstanding contributions to their community through philanthropy or the investment of financial or other resources such as time, talent, materials/facility/equipment, or involvement of staff or others in the organization. In 2022, the organization was honored with the “Best Practices in Community Involvement” award.

The depot was recognized for its expansive community engagement program, which supports events on the installation, such as school career exploration visits, and off-post, such as Touch-A-Trucks and military observance events – and more.

Tobyhanna’s enduring Warfighter of the Quarter Award program also contributed to the honor, with more than 40 local heroes recognized through the lifetime of the program.

In addition, the award celebrates Tobyhanna’s collaborative efforts with the Scranton Armed Forces Reserve Center to bring back Armed Forces Week activities, including the Armed Forces Day luncheon and parade – planned for May 2024.

A SAGE Milestone award was also bestowed upon Tobyhanna Army Depot, marking 70 years of providing military readiness and field support to the nation’s warfighters.

Community Relations Specialist Katie Nolan says the back-to-back accolades affirm the hard work Team Tobyhanna does to connect with the community.

“Our entire team takes great pride in our community engagements, and we love getting to meet the good folks of Northeastern Pennsylvania that support our mission. These awards validate that the hard work we do is seen and makes a difference. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together next year,” she said.

Connecting with the community is a line of effort under Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2035. The plan focuses on posturing the depot to support future force requirements and has additional lines of effort dedicated to ensuring C5ISR readiness across the joint services and shaping the future.