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News | Sept. 23, 2021

MERC deploys to DLA Distribution Tobyhanna

By Dawn Bonsell, DLA Distribution Public Affairs Officer

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, major flooding on Pennsylvania’s east coast caused a high-level communications outage and access issues for repair workers. Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, lost total system access at 7:00 a.m. Sept. 2.

“Team DDTP did an outstanding job with recovery after total system failure. We are now operating at a normal rate and heading into a clean end of year process. A huge thanks to all at DDTP and the J6 MERC Team for everything accomplished,” said Army Lt. Col. Robert West, DDTP commander.

When the system went down, communications came to a stand-still and DDTP was unable to receive materiel release orders through the Distribution Standard System, the organization’s electronic warehousing system, to provide needed supplies to the warfighter.

There were over 50 high priority and 140 routine orders that would be processed late and the receiving floor contained about 60 pallets and 500 pieces of material. DDTP workers began manually processing what they could, pre-staging receipts when possible.

In response, DLA’s Information Technology Contingency team deployed and stood up the Mobile Emergency Response Center to assist during the installation-wide communication outage. The satellite communications system allowed the Emergency Support Operations Center to continue processing emergent materiel release orders.

The DDTP team jumped into action, working with the DLA IT team to configure three systems to print MROs. The night shift started processing orders immediately and by 7:00 a.m. Sept. 9, MERC technicians were configuring all ten workstations for receiving and shipping capability in and out of warehouse six. DDTP used the command conference room as the command center, with workstations set up running on the local WIFI network to drop and sort the MRO workload. Normal operations continued throughout the weekend with mandatory overtime for production workers.

The installation-wide communication outage lasted through Sept. 14. Despite the major outage, DDTP was able to work all backlog orders and started working in a normal environment when communication system repairs were complete with minimal impact to the warfighter.