Face of Defense: Former Warfighter Continues to Serve
By Mary Ostroski
Tobyhanna Army Depot
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa., Sept. 22, 2010 As Michael Verton helps employees here work more efficiently, it's hard to imagine that this cheerful, fun-loving and very young-looking "kid" was a full-time warfighter only a short while ago.
Michael Verton, a process improvement specialist at Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pa., served as a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
A combat injury in July 2008 ended Verton's career as a soldier, but not his desire to serve his country. As a process improvement specialist here, he's able to help employees save time and money by streamlining business practices that have a direct effect on the warfighter.
Verton grew up in the small town of Lake Ariel, Pa. Following high school, he earned a degree in psychology and took a job working with autistic children. But Sept. 11, 2001, changed everything.
Even before he went to speak to an Army recruiter, he said, he knew he was going to join the ranks of the 82nd Airborne Division as an infantry soldier. He served in Iraq from 2005 to 2006 and in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2008. While there, he said, he used and depended on equipment repaired by depot employees.
"Serving with my brothers in arms has brought more pride to me than nearly anything else in my life,” Verton said. “I truly was able to serve with America's heroes. Working here makes it feel as though I'm serving with my brother, who is deployed to Afghanistan, and my unit, which is also deployed."
Verton works with a team of specialists who support the communications systems directorate, which repairs combat radios and other equipment he used while deployed.
"His ability and insight as a former customer and now as a challenge solver enables him to express new concepts and ideas that lead to positive outcomes for our employees and to the organization," said Tony Rubin, chief of the communications security division.
Verton helps to return equipment in a timely and cost-effective manner to warfighters in the field.
"The soldiers depend on Tobyhanna -- I depended on Tobyhanna -- to provide quality, working equipment and get it to us in a timely manner," Verton said.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the armed forces.