By Mrs. Brigitte Rox (AMC)November 12, 2013
With more than 2,000 units in the fleet, the UH-60 Black Hawk is regarded as the Army's workhorse in the sky, but with 34 years of extensive use, the helicopter needed boosts to its lifespan, technology, and capabilities.
The Corpus Christi Army Depot has been doing just that through a recapitalization program to extend the life of each helicopter by ten years and max out its capabilities to take the aircraft well beyond its original form.
In Fiscal Year 2012, CCAD artisans made strides to churn Black Hawks out better and faster than ever before. They produced a record-breaking fifty recapitalized Black Hawks at an uncompromising value.
This feat earned them the 2013 Robert T. Mason Award for Depot Maintenance Excellence, the highest award for depot-level maintenance in all of DoD. The Mason Award is one of two Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards, the other being given at the field-level.
"The entire CCAD team is humbled and honored with this recognition," said Kresten Cook, Deputy to the Commander for Support at CCAD.
Depot leaders say that the success of the recap line was a result of a number of significant innovations and strategic maintenance moves that lowered program costs, but the CCAD workforce credits a superior commander and unfaltering teamwork as the forces that kept them motivated to deliver.
Former Depot Commander, Col. Christopher B. Carlile made CCAD's situation clear to his team: "When it comes down to it, the U.S. government can't afford to purchase new aircraft each time one is damaged," he said. "They rely on [CCAD] to take those damaged aircraft and components and get them flying again."
CCAD's recap program reduces the costs of replacing aging helicopters with new ones, saving taxpayers approximately $12 million with each rebuild. Since 2003, CCAD has saved the taxpayer more than $20 billion through a number of programs designed to cut time and costs while making smarter choices in workload. These savings are critical to Army Aviation as budget cuts in the Department of Defense loom over the next ten years.
In FY 2005, the Secretary of Defense depot-level award was named the Robert T. Mason Award for Depot Maintenance Excellence in recognition of Robert T. Mason, a former Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Maintenance Policy, Programs, and Resources. This single award is presented to the outstanding program from a major organic depot-level maintenance facility that exemplifies responsive, transformed, depot-level maintenance support to DoD operating units. The plaque and Robert T. Mason Trophy are courtesy of the Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE).
The Mason Award is currently residing in CCAD's Building 8 lobby and will relocate throughout the depot before it is returned to the Secretary of Defense next fiscal year.