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Nanty Glo native among Pentagon reconstruction
crew members honored by Congress

Randy Jansure, left, former Nanty Glo resident and 1978 graduate of Blacklick Valley High School, is shown here greeting film star Bo Derek at a ceremony at the Pentagon to commend Pentagon reconstruction crews for their work to restore the Department of Defense headquarters following the 9-11 terrorist attack on the government building. The ceremony was on March 21, 2002.

Randy writes: "I have worked in and around the Pentagon for the past 10 years. I have worked for a McLean, Va.-based engineering integrator for the past 12 years. Our company designed and integrated the backbone network for the (Pentagon's) wedge one space that was destroyed in the attack. Had this happened a few years ago, I may not have been sending this email. Our company has been tasked to once again rebuild the networks, which includes designing and rebuilding sites for the displaced workers who were scheduled to move into the newly renovated Pentagon wedge one spaces. "

An interview with the director of the engineering team explains: John Ladd witnessed the September 11 explosion at the Pentagon from his office window. As director of engineering for SMS Data Products Group, he quickly realized the McLean, Va.-based systems integrator would play a crucial role in getting displaced employees back to work in a new location (as) SMS had completed a similar project for the Pentagon when it had been under renovation several years before.

"The first day [Tuesday], it took time to get any idea what was happening," he says. "On day two, we got back into the building and could assess the IT damage." Ironically, the portion of the building that suffered the most damage was the same area where SMS had worked previously. "We had very good documentation of what was in place," Ladd says. "We knew the IT infrastructure and the networks, the agencies they served and their missions."

SMS engineers came up with a network-infrastructure design for a new facility based on Cisco products and presented it to the government's newly created Emergency Network Team, which approved it, polished the details, drew up the equipment list and developed an implementation strategy. Cisco pulled hardware directly off the assembly line in California to fill the order, then chartered a plane that carried the equipment cross-country for Sunday-night delivery.

Putting in 30-hour shifts, Ladd and his team of 20 SMS engineers,aided by vendors, integrators and whoever else could be pressed into service,accomplished the task faster than employees could figure out where they were assigned to go. Office space and an operational network for more than 1,500 Pentagon workers was ready for the start of business Monday morning, Sept. 17. "These buildings were bare when we started," Ladd says. "Seeing this come together from scratch was a remarkable feat to witness." Our work is still ongoing today.

An American Forces Press Service release states: WASHINGTON, March 21, 2002 — Congress today commended Pentagon reconstruction crews for their dedicated work in repairing DoD's headquarters following the 9-11 terrorist attack. Florida Rep. Mark Foley gave a presentation copy of House Resolution 368 to Pentagon Renovation Program Manager Lee Evey in a brief 11 a.m. ceremony. The resolution praised the speed of the "Phoenix Project," which is six weeks ahead of schedule because of near-round-the-clock work shifts. The House cited the crews effort in demolition work — the 400,000 square feet of ground that needed to be cleared before reconstruction could begin was ready "in just one month, when it was estimated to take 4 to 7 months.

Actress Bo Derek visited with Pentagon renovation workers prior to attending the presentation of House Resolution 368, which praised renovation crews for their efforts in quickly repairing damage to the Pentagon from the 9-11 terrorist attack. Derek recently accepted President Bush's request to become chairwoman of special events for the National Rehabilitation Program for Veterans. She will assist in organizing volunteer activities to develop sports events and other activities for America's disabled military veterans.

Photo by Gerry Gilmore

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