CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq – Have you ever wondered how your computer magically recognizes you during the initial login process? What about how Microsoft Outlook and Army Knowledge Online mysteriously link with your Common Access Card, allowing you to bypass the tedious and sometimes annoying username and password?
The answer to these questions is neither mysterious nor magical. In fact, at the Contingency Operating Base Adder mayor cell, the answer is found within a dynamic, two-soldier information management team.
They are none other than Sgt. Kevin Serna, a San Marcos, Texas native, the information technology staff non-commissioned officer-in-charge, and Spc. James Gardipee, a Green Bay, Wis. native, and an information management officer. Both soldiers are part of the 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
Their daily tasks include running computer automations, responding to trouble tickets, Armed Forces Network repair, and running the communication cell phone tower. They hold down the mission all by themselves in a section that normally would require at least five soldiers and one officer.
Gardipee has completed more than 600 trouble tickets since assuming the duties of IMO for the mayor cell.
“Every day brings a new and unique learning experience,” he said. “I like meeting new people and being able to solve their problems. My major goal is to make sure computers, printers and digital senders don’t fall off the network. It keeps me busy.”
Moving forward into phase two of the of the unit’s mission in Iraq, each passing month will see a decrease in automations for the 4th STB. Serna is actively working to develop an automations blueprint that will support the unit until the mission is complete.
“I have to be much more versatile here in comparison to my job back at home station,” he said. “I have to look at the big picture and account for all the small variables that affect that picture. I enjoy my job and I am confident we will continue to be successful in servicing our customers.”