News: Working together to keep it all running: Network Marines keep Carter Hall in touch
Story by Cpl. Michael Lockett
USS CARTER HALL, At Sea – There’s a saying to the effect of, “it takes all sorts of people to make a world.” This is largely true. It’s also true that it takes all sorts of Marines to make an effective unit.
They can range from the obvious - the infantrymen, pilots, tankers - to less obvious - logistics specialists, truck drivers, fuelers - to specialties most people don’t typically associate with an infantry company, like network specialists.
Cpl. Jonathan Race and Cpl. Michael Casello are two such Marines. Physically, the two are dissimilar - Race is tall and lean, to the point of being in constant danger in the cramped confines of the ship. Casello is shorter, dark haired, easy going. Both Marines, however, assume an air of confidence about their persons when handling their jobs, if tempered with some amusement, joking with the sailors they share the server room with aboard the ship.
Members of H & S Co., Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Race and Casello are responsible for keeping the networked computers aboard the USS Carter Hall functional, keeping Company K and her attachments linked to the rest of the MEU.
“Along with email, we provide Internet access and security,” said Race. “We basically deal with everything computer related for the Marines on the ship,” said Casello, as they sit loosely in their chairs, surrounded by stacks of computer gear, blinking and whirring for reasons not known and smelling of warm electronic components.
Both men traveled vastly different paths to arrive here. Race comes from Oro Grande, Calif., and entered the Marine Corps as an aircraft crew chief until a medical condition compelled him to seek a different military occupational specialty.
“I’ve always been interested in computers, and honestly, I figured it’d set me up better after the Marine Corps. And it lets me spend more time with my wife,” he says with a laugh.
“My oldest brother does a lot with computers,” says Race, relaxing in the office, kept cool due to all the computer gear. “It’s always been a passion of mine.”
Casello, hailing from Forest Lake, Minn., is equally forthcoming about his route to becoming a network specialist, though possessed of a shorter story.
“I came in open contract,” he says wryly.
Marines coming in under an open contract can be selected to fill any slot the Marine Corps requires, so long as they meet the required scores on the aptitude tests every servicemember takes during their entry processing. Casello met the requirements for cyber network specialist, there was a need, and so, there he was assigned.
“I had no idea what I was doing until I was in the schoolhouse, in front of my instructor,” says Casello.
Both Marines stay busy with the work handed to them, keeping electronic communications up for all the Marines on the entire ship.
“We ensure continuous operations with a 24 hour help desk,” says Race. “We’ve been processing roughly a thousand help desk tickets a month,” adds Casello.
“We handle the hardware and software maintenance on this ship,” Race continues. “We’re able to configure and run our own gear, our own network, and we’re able to manage it, to run it, in accordance with the standards laid out by the MEU.”
The two Marines, responsible for the Marine network, operate in concert with the sailors doing the same for the Navy aboard ship to provide the best possible service for everyone present.
“We have a really good working relationship with our Navy counterparts,” says Race. “We provide support for them, and they provide support for us.”
This work, Working together to keep it all running: Network Marines keep Carter Hall in touch, by Cpl Michael Lockett, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.