Support of the Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) mission has taken many forms, which includes technological and financial support from Fort McCoy’s Network Enterprise Center and Resource Management Office.
The first challenge NEC faced upon receiving word of the OAW mission in August 2021 was how to quickly increase network capacity and connectivity to handle the demands of the mission.
“The NEC immediately began extending network connectivity into the OAW support areas, to include extending commercial internet and unclassified networks into multiple buildings to provide expanded network access to interagency and nongovernmental organizations, as well as military support units designated to support OAW operations,” NEC Director John Baltich said.
NEC also helped Task Force McCoy and Logistics Civil Augmentation Program to expand wireless internet and access points for the Afghan guests, allowing them to communicate again with friends and family members. Expanded internet access also improved the ability to effectively out-process the guest population quickly and efficiently, Baltich said.
NEC staff members provided ongoing support by responding to ongoing technical or communications-related issues that arose as OAW support personnel arrived on the ground, Baltich said. One example included expanding video teleconferencing support, including on weekends, to assist collaboration efforts. NEC staff members also created additional Army network accounts for units coming to Task McCoy for OAW.
Support has been available 24/7 through Fort McCoy NEC in order to enable quick responses to critical mission-support requirements, Baltich said.
“Overall, the IT and communication support provided by the NEC would not have been possible without the full commitment of all NEC personnel, as well as the collaborative effort and support from the Task Force G6 office, 7th Signal Command, 106th Signal Brigade ARNORTH G6, and all mission partners and directorates across the Fort McCoy Garrison,” Baltich said.
Baltich said he would also like to recognize Tim Simonson, NEC Business and Operations Division chief, and Sherm Thayer, network operations specialist, for their critical roles in supporting the OAW mission.
Any mission requires money, and RMO played a crucial role in making sure garrison organizations had the funds needed to quickly support OAW.
“RMO was involved from the very start,” former Resource Management Officer Maureen Richardson said. “The budget officer and the RMO chief were in every planning meeting, getting card holder limits raised. … We created line of accounting in the financial systems and coordinate with higher headquarters to obtain resources for the mission.”
As the mission continued, RMO established a cell in the Task Force McCoy headquarters, which became a feeder for garrison, 88th Readiness Division, and 181st Multi-Functional Training Brigade offices to make purchases, modify contracts, and assist in finance for soldier payments, Richardson said.
Richardson said she would like to recognize Matt Schroeder and Mike Jensen from RMO for their hard work in supporting OAW. “(They) adapted quickly to take on new and continually changing roles,” she said.
In Photos: Fort McCoy and Volk Field through the years
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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Marchal Mitchell, a soldier from 1st Battalion, 310th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 181st Multifunctional Training Brigade, Task Force McCoy, completes data entry of medical information for Afghan evacuees as they continue the immigration processing at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Sep. 27, 2021. The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghan evacuees at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible.
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