SMC alumni was linchpin in Operation Desert Storm

A side by side photo of then - Lt. Loralee Ryan, when she served at SMC and now - Col. Loralee Manas who is currently assigned to MDA. (Air Force photo)

A side by side photo of then - Lt. Loralee Ryan, when she served at SMC and now - Col. Loralee Manas who is currently assigned to MDA. (Air Force photo)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Not too long ago, the navigation devices we used to travel from one location to another were known as printed maps or celestial navigation sights. Today, while those devices still exist, the navigation device of choice is a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver.

In 1991, Operation Desert Storm made it critical to procure more than 8,000 small lightweight GPS receivers as rapidly as possible.  The small lightweight GPS receivers (SLGRS) program began at Los Angeles Air Force Base and the competitive non-developmental item acquisition process culminated in a contract award to Trimble Navigation for 1,012 sets to be purchased.

Because of the harsh desert terrain, troop movement was limited.  It was obvious there would be an immediate need for navigation equipment to support that mission. The request for the navigation system was so critical that soldiers wrote directly to Trimble,

"Navigation in the dessert is an absolute nightmare, and for this reason it is absolutely necessary that this equipment be obtained by whatever means possible."

The letters caught the attention of Col. Loralee Manas, who, during the most critical time of Desert Storm, was a young Lt. Loralee Ryan, a project manager for the GPS user equipment, and responsible for ensuring the receivers made it to the troops on time.

As the project manager, she was instrumental in awarding a contract to Trimble Navigation of Sunnyvale, Calif., in seven days. Deliveries commenced in 30 days, ensuring the equipment made it to the troops on time.

Colonel Loralee Manas graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and was commissioned through Air Force ROTC in 1989.

Her first assignment was at Los Angeles AFB, where she served as a GPS user equipment program manager and Follow-On Early Warning Systems acquisition manager, GPS and FEWS Program Offices, from August 1989 to August 1964.

She is currently the chief, Integrated Air and Missile Defense TA, Missile Defense Agency, Huntsville, Ala.

SMC salutes Col. Manas, for her hard work and dedication in supporting the men and women of Operation Desert Storm.