FORT MEADE, Md. - Army Cyber Command got a helping hand from 10 Soldiers from the Army’s 518th Tactical Installation Networking Company from Fort Gordon, Ga. April 11 – 18 when they installed 1,200 feet of 600 pair cable and 400 feet of 300 pair cable to provide building 8605 with additional telephone capacity .
“This is an important mission,” said Herman Wells, Army Cyber G-6, chief, plans and policy division. “It gives our command the capacity needed for telephone communications and provides a hands-on mission for the 518th.”
Fort Meade, Md., elements of Army Cyber Command are currently split between multiple buildings on post. The assistance from the 518th aids those in various staff sections in accomplishing the Army Cyber mission by increasing building connectivity.
The cable was installed underground leading from a remote service center to the access area in Building 8605.
“Now that their work is complete, all that needs to happen is to connect the phones,” said Wells.
Wells said the Army’s Network Enterprise Center at Fort Meade performed a key role in helping prepare for this mission and assisting while the 518th was onsite.
“ We provided support before the 518th arrived,” said Larry Jones, Fort Meade Network Enterprise Center. “ We received the actual cable from the supplier and delivered it to the work site. We also provided the equipment.”
Jones said the 518th TIN team spliced the 300 pair cable to the 600 pair cable, and from there ran the 300 pair cable underground into Building 8605.
“This was one of the first opportunities for the 518th team to splice cable on the job, and we were able to help them,” said Jones. “Once they performed the splicing on their own, they were able to finish the job.”
Brad Bytmar, a cable technician assigned to GSTek Inc., Fort Meade’s equivalent of the telephone company, said he was there to provide access to the manholes.
“We’re responsible for maintaining the manholes, to make sure they don’t fill up with storm water,” said Bytmar.
Working inside a cramped manhole, Sgt. Barrett A. Christian, 518th TIN, cable systems installer, maintainer, tugged and pushed to thread the cable through an underground duct.
“We started to install the cable by hand, but it was very slow and laborious,” said Christian. “Then we connected one end of the cable to a truck provided by the NEC, which then pulled the cable at a constant rate. This way the cable is less likely to get damaged or break.”
Up above, Sgt. Alrice W. Barnes, also a cable systems installer, maintainer, guided the cable into the manhole.
Spc. Toby A. Skander, another 518th cable systems installer, maintainer, said the “518th is getting ready for a deployment to Afghanistan later this year. This is similar to the type of work the 518th might be called on to perform in Afghanistan. Right now we are doing less of our specialty work in garrison as we undergo more pre- mobilization training.”
While the 518th’s primary mission is to support Army networks worldwide, they can and do support emergency missions worldwide, as in Haiti during the aftermath of the earthquake that struck there Jan. 12, 2010.
The 518th is one of only two TINs in the Army, said Wells. The other is the 16th TIN, based at Fort Hood, Texas.
Army Cyber Command was activated Oct. 1, 2010. The headquarters is located at Fort Belvoir, Va. Staff elements are located at Fort Meade, Md.