KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan — To his teammates on the provincial reconstruction team here, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Riedel, an information systems technician from Corpus Christi, Texas, is known as a jack of all trades.
“My job consists of everything dealing with communications,” Riedel said. He makes sure the communications systems on mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles are in good working order before missions, and he’s also the provincial reconstruction team’s network administrator.
The three-year Navy Reserve veteran helps the security forces members on the team by manning the guard tower and riding in the convoys as an alternate M‑240 gunner. But he considers his most important duty to be ensuring his teammates have their personal Internet.
“Internet in Afghanistan is not as reliable as it is back home,” he said. “I’ve had to do a lot of repairs to our personal Internet to keep it performing at acceptable standards.” Riedel’s supervisor, Navy Chief Petty Officer Jean Law from Austin, Texas, said Riedel is “phenomenal.”
“He has no problem waking up in the middle of the night to help people with Internet problems,” the chief said.
Law, who has worked with Riedel for six months, said Riedel is close to his family, and he takes it upon himself to make sure other people can stay close to theirs.
Riedel said he knows the Internet plays an important role in morale.
“It’s hard being deployed, but with features like Skype and instant messaging, it eases the burden of being away,” he said.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)