You’d think working on a line crew and looking for roadside bombs wouldn’t have anything to do with each other.
That is, until you meet Coast Division lineman Justin Tanner.
The Lucedale native has spent the last two years with the company helping to keep the lights on for customers after doing lineman work with several contract crews.
He’s also spent the last seven years in the U.S. Army National Guard, helping to protect America.
“I had always wanted to join the military, but I never followed through with it,” said the 31-year old Tanner. “Then in 2009, all my friends who are in the Guard were deployed to Afghanistan, so I joined up as quickly as I could.”
By 2010, Tanner was in the Middle East with his group of combat engineers doing “route clearance.”
In other words, they were looking for Improvised Exploding Devices (IEDs).
“During 2010, my squad had the highest percentage of finding IEDs,” Tanner said. “My truck actually hit three of them, but we were protected thanks to our ambush protection gear. The Taliban would see us find IEDs and neutralize them, so they would figure out ways to hide them again so we would run into them. Fortunately, we were also provided with ground penetrating radar that would detect the IEDs.”
Tanner says the obvious correlation between working with electricity and explosives is “staying focused on the job.”
“Paying attention to detail and determining how this situation will affect either my fellow line crew members or my soldiers all goes hand-in-hand,” he said.
Tanner has been married for five years and has three children. So what keeps him going when he’s deployed or on storm duty?
“I have an excellent support group,” Tanner said. “Thanks to family, friends, and the military-friendly attitude here at Mississippi Power, the last thing on my mind when I’m gone is worrying about my job when I get home. I know that if I’m not there, someone will cut the grass for me or check on my family. That’s important.”