No break in communication: 2nd CS keeps Barksdale connected
By Tech. Sgt. Daniel Martinez, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 24, 2020
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- For many members of Team Barksdale, working from home is business as usual and it's all thanks to the 2nd Communications Squadron enabling Airmen to stay connected so their contribution to the mission can continue.
To meet the surge of teleworking personnel, the 2nd CS ramped up operations at “The Hub,” a walk-in computer clinic where they troubleshoot various software issues, set up smart phones for government use and image computers with the network compatible operating system software.
“The hub imaged 100 laptops in three days, which is double our normal rate,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Witzel, 2nd CS client systems supervisor. “Walk-ins have been around 70 customers daily for VPN (virtual private network) issues and WiFi enabling compared to normal days averaging 15 total.”
As the demand to increase teleworking capabilities soared, personnel across different 2nd CS units joined efforts to help manage the influx of customers.
According to Witzel, 35 personnel from executive communications, client systems, knowledge ops, the mission defense team and six personnel from the hub, along with support from leadership, came together to make this effort possible.
“To keep things running smoothly the 2nd Communications Squadron is working together as a team and assisting each other in any way we can,” he said. “Without the assistance of the other work centers, the hub would not be able to sustain the sharp increase of customers daily.”
While the hub enables mission continuity, the 2nd CS also provided 112 additional laptops to be circulated among teleworking personnel.
“It started with the BECO (base equipment control office) as far as taking all of our extra actual physical hardware, accounting for it, figuring out how much we had and pulling it from our eastside warehouse,” said Tech. Sgt. Jessica Oliver, 2nd CS BECO NCO-in-charge.
Once the computers are imaged they are placed into a conference room re-purposed with a specially configured 48-port system. The computers are connected to this port system to allow them to maintain a connection to the network while they wait to be picked up by the customer. This room was nicknamed “the toaster” by 2nd CS Airmen because it keeps the computers warmed up and ready for use, and also enables the computers to have the latest software upgrades while connected.
“Right now with this project, the computers go over to our toaster until somebody requests it and we can fulfill those requests on hand,” Oliver said. “Typically we don’t just have laptops ready to go, nor do we make sure they coordinate with the hub, but right now because of the demand, we have them ready to go where customers just need to request and sign for it.”
The 2nd CS continues to help Team Barksdale stay connected to the mission through innovative processes, team work and doing their best to meet their customer’s needs. While they keep the toaster warm, a customer can drop off equipment with issues by submitting a ticket on vESD through their desktop, but should back up personal data by using OneDrive on the computer.
“Our team took this on because of the uniqueness of the hub and our ability to assist walk-in customers,” Witzel said. “We appreciate the patience of those who work on Barksdale as we continue to provide the best service we can during these unforeseen events.”