Marines use hands-on training to improve proficiency
October 1, 2013
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Marine Sgt. Joshua Wallace remembers sending a lot of combat equipment to Tobyhanna Army Depot for repair, but never imagined he'd one day lead a group of Marine Reservists here for training.
The team was one of two groups of Marines who visited the depot to augment their practical knowledge with hands-on proficiency as part of an annual training requirement. The 26 Marines are assigned to the 6th Communication Battalion, a Reserve unit headquartered in Brooklyn, N.Y. The unit specializes in communications and provides radio, cyber, wire switching and satellite services to support Marine Expeditionary Forces.
"Training here has given me more confidence in my military specialty," said Cpl. Jonathan Duke, ground communications organizational repair technician. "The post had more than adequate facilities and the civilian employees were very helpful. Overall, my training evolution at Tobyhanna is one more Marines should have the opportunity to realize."
This is the second year members of the battalion have opted to travel across the state line to hone their military occupational specialty skills (MOS). And, according to senior officials, Tobyhanna can expect to see more of the Marines in the future.
"It costs less to bring our Marines here for two weeks than setting up a field exercise somewhere for a long weekend," said Wallace. "Tobyhanna Army Depot has the facilities to accommodate our needs and there are tangible benefits derived from the relationship between the Marines that use the equipment and the civilians that repair it."
Wallace explained the communications battalion supports Marine Expeditionary Forces by forward deploying smaller detachments of operators, maintainers, food service specialists, transportation technicians or diesel mechanics according to mission requirements.
"Tobyhanna is a pretty amazing organization," Wallace said. "We're able to work directly with gear that's relevant to each MOS or gear we actually use." Wallace, an active duty Marine assigned to the Inspector and Instructor (I&I) element, provides an operational continuity to the reserve center. A cadre of active duty personnel is assigned to every center to ensure things are done according to standards, he explained.
In addition, the Marines will be able to liaison with depot employees whether at home station or in the field thousands of miles away.
"Everything has been great," said Capt. Craig Tooker, executive officer for Service Company, which is responsible for all equipment and communications maintenance. "We're looking forward to making the training bigger and better next year."
Organics Chief Sgt. Mike Roy mentioned that he heard only positive comments from employees and Marines alike.
The Marines were assigned to work areas according to their MOS. Some performed tests and corrective maintenance on a variety of radio transmitters, while others worked on Standard Integrated Command Post System (SICPS) environmental control units.
Community Services received a helping hand from several food service specialists, and DLA Distribution Tobyhanna offered insight into the packing and preservation of parcels.
A few Marines were given the opportunity to become more versed in equipment outside their MOS.
"I was able to see brand new equipment that had just become available to the Army," said Lance Cpl. Abram Davis, ground communications organizational repair technician, who received training outside his echelon. "The group of civilians that worked alongside me was very helpful and knowledgeable."
According to Air Conditioning Equipment Mechanic Michael Dankulich, the Marines performed
troubleshooting, overhauling and final testing of environmental control units. Dankulich works in the Systems Integration and Support Directorate's Environmental Control Unit Branch.
"The Marines were eager to learn about our procedures," said Jeffrey Cicci, air conditioning equipment mechanic. "Our organization supported their training requirements by providing hands-on training to help them hone skills used in combat."
Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 3,700 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, Md., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.