Veterans Day 2018 - Anthony, Chad and Mike and their Camp Lemonnier comrades in front of a Lockheed Martin P-3.
How many times do you hear “Oh, you work at Lockheed Martin? Do you know so-and-so? He’s an engineer?” Imagine getting deployed more than 7,000 miles from home and one of your unit mates is another Lockheed Martin employee?
Anthony Tortoreto, a financial analyst at Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS) Moorestown, New Jersey, and Navy Reserve Officer, was mobilized for a 12-month deployment to Djibouti on the east coast of Africa. Little did he know he would be deployed with another Lockheed Martin employee, Chad Underwood, a systems engineer at Aeronautics in Marietta, Georgia.
During their tour, Chad and Anthony served the U.S. Navy as officers; Chad running Air Operations and Anthony specializing in financial management. Anthony managed the Camp Lemonnier base finances and Chad managed the airfield. “The base is small, and everyone knows everyone, so we were bound to cross paths eventually,” Anthony said.
With the base serving as a home away from home, everyone quickly became friends. Some even became future work colleagues as Anthony referred a fellow reservist, Mike DiGesu, for an Aeronautics procurement position. Mike joined Lockheed Martin just two months ago. “Mike is a good pick up, he’s a strong performer – I know from experience,” Anthony said.
Being deployed in Djibouti could be described in one word: hot. The temperature topped 100 degrees every day and the humidity was unbearable. “When we landed in Djibouti, the temperature on the flight line was 137 degrees,” Chad said.
The stifling heat made being being away from their families that much more difficult. Fortunately, the base Wi-Fi enabled them to make frequent calls home to their loved ones. It is not easy to prepare for military leave, but Lockheed Martin takes some of the stress away. “The process was seamless,” said Anthony, “Going on deployment is similar to taking a sick leave.”
Lockheed Martin employee servicemen and women are continually deploying to serve their country. So far in 2019, 444 employees across the corporation have been called to serve for weeks and months at a time.
What is it like being in the mission? What is it like to see the challenging work you and your colleagues do everyday come to life? After asking each person his thoughts, all had the same answer: rewarding.