By Mr. Anthony Ricchiazzi (AMC)January 15, 2008
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. - Tobyhanna personnel have created a realistic training tool for TOC field service representatives.
A Tactical Operations Center training facility in the form of a tent will be available this month for training field service representatives.
"The tent gives the FSRs a real field environment feeling to support the TOC equipment," said Mark Williams (a resident of Dunmore), a new equipment training instructor. "The tent has all the equipment a TOC would have, including a generator and an environmental control unit, as well as the TOC equipment."
Williams works in the Business Management Directorate's New Equipment Training Division.
TOCs are command and control systems used for communications and data transmission. The systems, in shelters and other facilities, serve as a commander's planning, coordinating, monitoring, advising and directing agency. TOC systems include radios, such as the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, telephones, networking equipment, computers and other communications systems.
They work in concert with systems like Blue Force Tracking to give a command center complete access to a theater of operations. Commanders can monitor and direct actions throughout the theater.
FSRs maintain TOC and other communications-electronics equipment and new FSRs require training.
Williams, Dave Jurosky (a resident of Dickson City), James Lamie (a resident of Scranton) and Lynwood Turlington (a resident of Pocono Pines), all new equipment training instructors, hit on the idea of providing a realistic environment and directed the tent's placement outside Building 3. The division personnel set up the tent themselves and use DVDs to simulate actual video feed a TOC receives.
The tent can accommodate classes of up to 30 people. The new equipment training team dismantled it temporarily to place a gravel base under it.
Training is done in two phases. "Phase one involves supporting the electronics, fiber optics, networking and communications equipment," Turlington explained. "Phase two is supporting the environmental equipment such as the air conditioners, and generators."
Between phases, FSRS are given problems to solve to test what they've learned.
"Soldiers and FSRs call us from the field on a regular basis for help," Williams said. "We duplicate the problems here to give real-world training."
Training updates will be automatically incorporated as equipment changes, Jurosky noted.
Part of the improvements to the courses is to provide Powerpoint slides as training aids. To lower printing costs, all handouts will be provided on CDs.
Lamie noted they also regularly receive requests for training and the new training tent adds to the depot's capability to fulfill the requests.
"And it's nice to get those requests because it builds our reputation as a first class training facility," he said.
So far, they have trained in excess of 100 FSRS and hundreds of Soldiers in the continental United States and outside the continental United States. They also provide training on deployment, including the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., for TOCs and the Command Post Platform.
The team acknowledged the contributions of Public Works, Systems Integration and Support, and Command, Computer, Control and Avionics directorate employees for assisting with the environmental control unit system, setting up the shelter, networking and testing equipment, and providing upgrades to the facility, grounds and power requirements.
Paul Baumes, depot training administrator, commented that the team was provided floor space and equipment when requested for short periods of time and that High Tech Regional Training Site-Maintenance staff here have also provided continuing support.
"They went above and beyond to help," Jurosky said. "With their expertise, and their management's cooperation and support, we got the work environment best suited for this training."
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 5,500 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 Life Cycle Management Command. Headquartered at Fort Monmouth, N.J., 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.