MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania – U.S. Soldiers and civilian contractors assigned to the 509th Strategic Signal Battalion strive to keep customers' computers working, fix networking problems, and provide internet access for all of MK Air Base, Romania.
A civilian contractor of the 509th SSB explains the importance of his job and how it aids all units on base.
“My role here is Outside Plant lead.” said Anthony Harrington, a telecommunication engineer civilian contractor. “I basically control the team that runs the cable for the whole entire base. We run cable for the User System Interface as well as assist the units in here with patching their lines from within their offices.”
Harrington’s experiences as a prior service Soldier aided him in his abilities and equipped him to be where he is now.
Harrington’s prior military occupational specialty as a 25L, cable system installer and maintainer, has correlated well to his performance as a contractor giving him the role as the OSP leader for the entire Romanian base.
“Most of my skills I learned in the Army from 2009 transfer on to now and correlates to my civilian job as the OSP lead here,” said Harrington.
Another civilian contractor that works for the 509th shares his experience and service as a contractor for the U.S. Army as a service desk technician.
“I have worked with a lot of military personnel,” said Anh Tran, a service desk technician. “I have worked in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and the Pentagon. At the Pentagon I was an IT and services manager there for about three years until I decided to take this opportunity to get a chance to go to Europe and travel a bit.”
Tran shares how enjoyable his current position is because of the people he serves and understanding they have been in a deployed environment.
“It’s a much more open environment,” said Tran. “People are more understanding of what you have to deal with. I’ve worked in these types of deployed environments before, whether it’s Iraq or Afghanistan and I enjoy it a lot.”
“Overall, communication is one of the most important parts of the military, how I see it,” said Harrington. “Anything communication wise, we’re the focal point of that.”
Civilian contractors like Harrington and Tran work efficiently with the Soldiers and the civilians of the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base thanks to their knowledge and experience throughout their careers.
The 509th SSB is permanently stationed at MK Air Base Romania and provides high-quality customer service, and reliable, resilient, and ready communications to enable mission command capabilities for the Warfighter. The unit supports military organizations throughout Italy, the Balkans, the Black Sea region, NATO’s southern flank, and Africa.