After going through three major acquisition milestones, battling through challenges such as a Nun-McCurdy breach, and countless days of travel associated with the job and being away from the family, the product manager for Apache Block III is retiring from the Army after more than 20 years in service.

Lt. Col. Dan Bailey relinquished his position as the product manager for Apache Block III during a change of charter and retirement ceremony Sept. 28 in one of the hangars at Redstone Airfield.

Assuming responsibility as the new product manager is Lt. Col. Brian Stehle, who recently came from the Technology Application Program Office at Fort Eustis, Va., where he managed Special Operations Aviation Helicopter Avionics Systems.

Bailey assumed responsibility for the Apache Block III Product Office in 2009. He has led the team to achieve major milestone acquisition decisions that led to the Limited User Test and the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation of the AH-64D Apache Block III, the Army's newest version and the world's most lethal attack helicopter.

During the ceremony, Bailey succumbed to his emotions about saying goodbye to a service and duty he has loved and believed in all his life.

"I've always been one of those guys that could not be defeated. I never thought I'd ever be here, even last night. This has been my life," he said.

Col. Jeff Hager, project manager for Apache Attack Helicopters and who was Bailey's predecessor, said that Bailey was the right man for the job at the right time. Bailey's experience and expertise as an experimental test pilot and education in mechanical engineering were instrumental in the success of the Block III program.

"Rotation brings new blood and new ideas," Hager said, adding that he knew the program, which was in its infancy at the time Bailey took the charter, could not have been in more capable hands. Bailey is also a Master Army Aviator with time in over 25 different aircraft, and is also airborne and air assault qualified.

"What I'm going to take away with me is what we as a team of professionals have accomplished," Bailey said. "But at the end of the day, it is all about the same motivation to protect and serve the war fighter today. I took the job and never expected so many opportunities to succeed."

Bailey summarized the last three years with the following accomplishments by his team. The Apache Block III Product Office has successfully completed or executed: more than $1.4 billion in contracts; 53 major contracts actions with three prime contractors; more than 1,000 minor contract actions; almost 1,500 contract deliveries; more than 100 different airworthiness releases; and three major acquisition decisions that led to the Limited User Test and Initial Operational Test of the Apache Block III.

"I have been honored to serve as your leader, and I want to thank you all as a team," Bailey said.

Bailey and his family will remain in the area in New Market, where he will have the opportunity to spend more time with his wife Dawn and three children. He received the Legion of Merit at his retirement ceremony.

Page last updated Thu October 11th, 2012 at 14:31