Face of Defense: Petty Officer Maintains Team’s Network

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.

Forward Operating Base Chapman in Afghanistan's Khost province
Navy Pet­ty Offi­cer 2nd Class Ryan Riedel tests the speed of the Inter­net con­nec­tion after an upgrade to the ser­vice at For­ward Oper­at­ing Base Chap­man in Afghanistan’s Khost province, Feb. 15, 2011.
U.S. Air Force pho­to by Mas­ter Sgt. Matthew Lohr
Click to enlarge

“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) 

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