Data Marines hook Fighting 13th back online

25 Mar 2004 | Sgt. Mark P. Ledesma

Whether it was mission or morale oriented, the consistent flow of electronic communication was essential to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s (Special Operations Capable) Western Pacific deployment.

Even with the conclusion of the 13th MEU’s six-and-a-half month deployment, the flow of electronic traffic to the MEU remains continuous.  While some MEU Marines took time off from work to spend time with family members and friends, data administrators were hard at work updating servers and reconfiguring computers.

According to Sgt. Kim K. Dewerff, Command Element data chief, 13th MEU (SOC), it is imperative that the MEU servers and computers are updated with new programs to protect the MEU from new computer viruses that have appeared since the MEU’s departure last August.

Before the MEU’s arrival, Mar. 8, three data Marines returned advanced party from Hawaii to ensure the servers were ready for use. They diligently worked with civilian contractors to ensure the new and already existing computer lines were working properly.

According to Dewerff, they didn’t encounter any major overwhelming problems while updating and configuring the computers.

Their experiences before and during deployment have improved their technical skills and have prepared them for this mission, said Dewerff.

The week following the Command Element’s arrival was very hectic for data Marines.

“There were a lot of computers we had to reconfigure,” said Dewerff.

According to Lance Cpl. Miguel A. Ledesma, network administrator, 13th MEU (SOC), he didn’t mind the heavy workload.

It just feels good to be back, he said. “It’s nice to actually have a weekend again.  It’s just the weekdays and we have the weekends to relax.”

Fortunately, since the first week the workload for them has slowly digressed, said Dewerff.

“A majority of the computers have been reconfigured and we’re wrapping up the loose ends,” he said.  “Things are starting to slow down.”

According to him, everything is going as planned.

“I think we did a pretty good job of coming back and getting people online as soon as possible,” he said.  “We’re right where we should be, if not, ahead of that.”

13th Marine Expeditionary Unit