Ringing in a new era: Yokota powers down historical telephone switch

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alexzandra Gracey
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 374th Communications Squadron (CS) gathered to witness the historic decommissioning of the Meridian Stored Logic 100 switch at Yokota Air Base, Feb. 6. The decommissioning ceremony marked a milestone in the base-wide transition from Plain Old Telephone Services to Voice Over Internet Protocol .

MSL-100, known amongst the 374th CS as “Lucy,” was first installed by the 1956th Communications Group in Nov. 1991. The installation of this telephone switch launched Yokota telephone operations into the digital world and provided services to a multitude of offices and squadrons across the base during its 32-year lifespan. The installation of VOIP aims to further streamline and improve communication methods for Team Yokota.

“This new system increases cyber security and is faster to manage and use,” said Staff Sgt. Gary Boggs-Herbert, 374th CS cyber transport supervisor. “We have to progress towards the future and modernize our equipment. This new system is better for Yokota and the U.S. Air Force overall.” 

The 374th CS network infrastructure technicians rerouted over 1,000 lines of analog phones to the VOIP system and coordinated with local telephone providers to begin using internet protocol systems for the benefit of Team Yokota. 

“The 374th Communication Squadron did all the work,” said David Popovich, 374th CS requirements manager. “Every single analog phone had to be cut over to VOIP. Even in places where there wasn’t infrastructure for an Internet connection, they were installing VOIP gateways to help the transition.” 

A final call from an analog phone was placed before “Lucy” and was officially powered off with help from Col. Ryan Vetter, 374th Mission Support Group commander,  and Lt. Col. Steven Lee, 374th CS commander.

Yokota is the first base in the Pacific Air Forces to complete the VOIP transition and is leading the way in modernizing the communication methods of the Air Force.