Soldier's assistance to thousands earns Warfighter of Quarter award
August 16, 2011
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, PA. " A master sergeant's outstanding service enabled his unit to provide 98,000 Soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians serving in Southwest Asia with reliable, secure voice and data communications.
In recognition of that effort, Master Sgt. Kenneth Aten was presented with the 2011 Warfighter of the Quarter Award, third quarter, by Maj. Gen. Randolph P. Strong, commander of the U.S. Army CECOM Life Cycle Management Command, depot commander Col. Charles Gibson and depot Sgt. Maj. Kelvin Spencer.
The award is presented each quarter to a Soldier or civilian in recognition of their service and sacrifice in order to reinforce the strength of military personnel in all branches of the Armed Forces. Aten's award was presented on July 15 at Tobyhanna Army Depot.
"I was honored," he said. "I did what thought was necessary in theater to complete the mission. Good Soldiers are those who do what is required of them. Outstanding Soldiers do what is required of them, but they look at their surroundings and see what needs to be done, and they make it happen, not for rewards or praise, but because it is the right thing to do."
Aten, an electronics mechanic leader at the depot in the Wideband Components Branch of the Communications Systems Directorate's Voice Communications Division, serves as first sergeant of B Company 392nd Signal Battalion, Tobyhanna Army Depot, a unit in the Army Reserve.
Aten served as the Plans and Operations non-commissioned officer in charge for Task Force Raven during the Unit's 12 month mobilization in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. While serving in this position, he was responsible for managing every aspect of the battalions's wartime mission; to operate, maintain and defend the United States Forces-Iraq (USF-I) communications network.
"Master Sgt. Aten's additional responsibilities included preparing two companies, 225 Soldiers and over 75 tactical communications assets, to support tactical signal operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Army Central Headquarters," said Maj. Kelvin Whisenhunt, 392nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion S-3 (Plans and Operations). "Additionally, Master Sgt. Aten defined and [designed] all operations in support of the Iraqi Freedom Responsible Drawdown of Forces."
In his nomination, Whisenhunt added that Aten developed the strategy and concept of operations required in order to deploy elements of the battalion to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait, noting that at the end of the reception and staging period, all elements of Task Force Raven assumed their wartime missions seamlessly, primarily attributed to the selfless efforts of Aten and the combination of his excellent work and attention to detail.
"This monumental contribution was critical to the success of the battalion's inaugural deployment in support of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom," Whisenhunt said. "Master Sgt. Aten is to be commended for the inaugural role that he played in the battalion's mission in support of our nation's defense and the Global War on Terrorism."
"I love being a Soldier; it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," Aten said. "The military has been one of the two center pillars in my life; I can tie almost everything good that has happened to me to the military."
Aten offered this advice to other Soldiers: "Take a look around yourself, see what needs to be fixed and fix it. Don't just try to meet the standards, try to surpass them. Take pride in your work, and if you make a decision that is wrong, admit to making the wrong choice, and learn from it."
Personnel of all branches of the Armed Forces are eligible for the Tobyhanna Warfighter of the Quarter Award.
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 5,600 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 CECOM Life Cycle Management 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.