Quick thinking saves USAFE data center

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Anthony, 86th Communications Squadron cyber vulnerability management supervisor, sits on the 86th CS throne, Ramstein Air Base, Sept. 14. Anthony coordinated an effort to salvage valuable data servers, saving $265 million in assets for the Air Force.

A Staff Sergeant from the 86th Communications Squadron was named Airlifter of the Week for his leadership, quick thinking and coordination which prevented an equipment failure in United States Air Force Europe’s largest data center, at Ramstein Air Base, Sept. 14.

Staff Sgt. Jordan Anthony, 86th CS cyber vulnerability management supervisor, had to think on his feet after a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning outage threatened vulnerable data servers in his section of the Network Operations shop.

Anthony helped establish an air flow solution that reduced the temperature in the data center from 98 degrees F to 86 degrees F in less than two hours, effectively salvaging $265 million in assets that provide cyber capabilities for two combat commands.

“If you rely on cyber capabilities on Ramstein, you know how important that data center is to the Air Base,” said Master Sgt. Richard Rawls, 86th CS Network Operations section chief.

The Network Operations shop was alerted to the rising temperature in the server room after a physical check was conducted.

“We opened the server room toward the beginning of our shift and noticed the high temperature,” said Anthony. “Due to the critical nature and information stored on those servers, I contacted the emergency number for the 86th Civil Engineering Squadron for assistance.”

Anthony and his team then rushed to set up an airflow system using a push-pull method via numerous fans to cool the room. His expertise was pivotal in providing the 86th CES with vital data that was necessary to develop this temporary solution.

“Then, we set up 24-hour operations for physical coverage so we could have a secured room opened, which allowed the airflow system we set up to cool the room off as much as possible,” said Anthony. “We had 86th CES come out and fix the cooling unit and order parts for a second one so that if this happens again we have two fully functional coolers.”

“Staff Sgt. Anthony’s quick reaction in controlling rising temperatures prevented immeasurable catastrophic impacts throughout USAFE and reinforces why the 86th CS is truly ‘second to none’,” said Rawls.

This wasn’t the only creative solution Anthony developed. He also redesigned an automated alert system that is used to notify responders to any HVAC degradation. This system allows a near real-time response, helping to ensure mission success across the European theatre.

Anthony, a native of Enid, Oklahoma and an avid gamer, says he enjoys a good mental challenge.

“One thing that I like about this job is how a majority of the problems we run into look similar and simple on the surface but once you dig deeper, the similarities start to fade and you realize each job has its own unique problems and solutions.”

Problem solving skills are just part of what has led to Anthony’s success. His section chief attributes his leadership and hard work to his accomplishments.

His leadership has been vital over the past six months to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and the shop’s reduction in manning due to deployments. His positive attitude and relentless work ethic has been much needed during some high-stress events, Rawls said.

“Jordan is the type of Airman you want in your corner when the unexpected takes place,” said Brig. Gen. Joshua M. Olson, 86th Airlift Wing commander. “His ability to problem-solve quickly and then execute without hesitation not only saved the Air Force millions of dollars in assets, but more importantly protected the cyber capabilities of two combatant commands. Jordan stepped up to the plate when we needed him to, without hesitation, and that is exactly why he was recognized as our Airlifter of the Week.”

Anthony claims he was just doing his job and was surprised by the Airlifter nomination. He was grateful to be recognized, though.

“This was the first time I have been coined outside of basic training, so it was pretty special to be coined by Brig. Gen. Olson and Chief Skibitsky,” said Anthony. “A lot of the work we do goes unnoticed because of the nature of our job. So, it was nice to be recognized because it shows that others thought I was going above and beyond what I was supposed to do.”

It’s Airmen like Anthony who continue to maintain Ramstein’s reputation of being the World’s Best Wing.