Tobyhanna celebrates 60th anniversary
February 6, 2013
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. --A CECOM senior official praised Tobyhanna's ability to adapt to changes to mission requirements during a ceremony celebrating the depot's 60th anniversary as a communications-electronics facility.
About 450 employees and guests were treated to a slide show and a video highlighting depot history and accomplishments since its opening on Feb. 1, 1953.
Friday's event was also televised across the depot and the Army Materiel Command, the depot's parent command.
Gary Martin, deputy to the commanding general of the Army Communications-Electronics Command, Maj. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, noted that Tobyhanna began its modern mission at the start of the Cold War and has been involved, "working shoulder-to-shoulder" with the military, in many military and humanitarian operations since then, including Vietnam, Desert Storm, Bosnia and Haiti, and most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Not once, not a single time, have our forces deployed without the support of Tobyhanna," he said. "More recently, that support has been right there on the edge of the battlespace…through long hours (doing) the heavy lifting in keeping this very complex (communications-electronics) equipment up and running."
Martin also pointed out the depot's role in the War on Terrorism, particularly in helping the armed forces with the challenge of improvised explosive devices.
"In 2004 alone, during the toughest time in Iraq, Tobyhanna increased its workload by over 40 percent in a single year, without missing a beat," he said. "Tobyhanna has played a key role in the most critical missions of our armed forces."
Guests included state Sen. John Blake; Coolbaugh Township Supervisor Jim Frutchey; Mike Shea, representing U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta; Tom Cahill, representing U.S. Sen. Tom Marino, and Martin. Each offered remarks acknowledging the depot's contribution to the security of the nation.
Other guests were: U.S. Rep. Matthew Cartwright; state Rep. Kevin Haggerty; Suzanne McCool, Monroe County commissioner; Marta Gabriel, Lehigh Valley regional manager, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey's office; Bob Morgan, district manager, U.S. Rep. Matthew Cartwright's office; Tom Cahill, district representative, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino's office; T.J. Yablonsky, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta's office; Joe Fabricatore, chief of staff, state Rep. Kevin Haggerty's office; and Bill Moore, chief executive officer, Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry.
Prior to their remarks, Deputy Commander Frank Zardecki presented slides of depot history since construction in 1951, noting significant changes, how the depot has grown and the continuous improvements to facilities to better support the armed forces.
Zardecki concluded his presentation by saying that even in the early years, Tobyhanna had a future planning office.
"We've always had a modernization plan," he said. "We want Tobyhanna to stay here for another 60 years. We keep investing in infrastructure to make this a better place."
Depot commander Col. Gerhard P.R. Schröter during his remarks thanked the local community and their representatives for their enduring support of the depot, noting that depot employees and community civilians and leadership have worked together for the last six decades in not just depot missions, but in environmental stewardship, energy conservation, economic development, education and technology, "in order to grow our area for a brighter tomorrow."
"Today, we celebrate success and service," Schröter said. "For 60 years, Tobyhanna adapted and evolved to meet the needs of our armed forces. As Mr. Zardecki's presentation shows--the technology and facilities have changed, but it is the people who made it work. Commitment, sense of purpose, hard work and the tenacity to get the job done reflect the bedrock qualities of the people of northeastern Pennsylvania."
After remarks, a 10-minute video highlighted depot accomplishments in conjunction with historical events.
The ceremony ended with depot officials and guests cutting a cake.