A Thanks from Afghanistan

At IGC we work hard to provide top quality service to all our customers, every one, with no distinction. And that especially includes providing reliable satellite communications and top notch support to the men and women who are quite literally on the front line, in harm’s way, at operating bases in the Afghanistan theater of operations. 

Without exaggeration, these people’s very lives depend on reliable communications—to operate a logistics chain, to provide in-theater command and control, and to provide a vital channel back to the U.S. and to the Combatant Commander. So it gratifies us, and vindicated all the long hours and sweat that we pour into this business, when we get an appreciative email from one of those young men that we support on the front line in Afghanistan. I can’t do it any more justice than to display a recent email in it’s entirely, as we received it:

UNCLASSIFIED//                                                                    

Mr. Benjamin,

It has been a while since I have had the opportunity to highlight ISOC’s [Intelsat Secure Operations Center’s] performance.  Obviously, things here are winding down.  Despite our footprint shrinking, it has not reduced our Ops tempo.  I realize that ISOC, and Intelsat in general, deal with a wide range of issues.  I see a majority of them from where I sit based on all the capacity we operate on throughout Afghanistan.  It is my belief that ISOC continues to lead the way through technical expertise and phenomenal customer service. 

The referenced trouble ticket is a perfect example of getting the job done.  I have said before that no one in ISOC should ever feel that they have not made a difference in the effort that Regional Command East Tactical Satcom assemblages play a role in.  In no way should your crew wake up having to ask the question if their job matters.  It does.  

We try to run a tight ship here.  When we are causing a problem, we work diligently to correct it, despite (redacted) (and yes I know it is DoD capacity) and the subordinate leasing vendor not reciprocating.  However, with a little ingenuity, old fashioned elbow grease, and adapting to the environment we are operating in, this coordinated effort has made communications possible for a site that has literally been in a very bad way.  This is ALL that they have. 

Lastly, your ISOC Team puts up with me.  I greatly appreciate it.  I know that when I call in, it is high stress for me (being prior service as most of us are) because I know someone’s life could be on the line.  Your guys get that.  They take my input, they listen, and we come up with the solution together.  I can’t stress enough how critical that is.

I am proud to have ISOC on the other end of the line.  If it was up to me, there wouldn’t be any other operation center we would deal with.  Having dealt with someone else’s decision to lease bandwidth here, or there, and the level of service or expertise that comes with bad decision making, there is one avenue that the bean counters got right… ISOC. 

 My time here is dwindling.  All I can do is train the military counterparts to learn all that I know so that you don’t have more nightmares like IS22 – 12K happening.  That can be a tall order sometimes, because as you get these guys spun up, the next unit comes in to replace them.

Please pass on my heartfelt thanks, and a great Holiday Season to you and yours, and all those supporting the War Fighter at Intelsat.  I can assure you the guys on the ground appreciate what you bring to our operations here. 

[Name and Rank Redacted]

Satellite Engineer

Afghanistan Theater of Operations

As 2014 begins and we reflect on our the trials and accomplishments of 2013, we at IGC can all take a little pride in this email, as proof that what we are doing matters, and that we are doing it well.