At Redstone Test Center, personnel are often referred to as the "men and women behind the curtain," ensuring that everything operates smoothly and works properly so the Warfighter can execute his mission. While all love working "behind the curtain," sometimes a little recognition is in order.

The Distributed Test Control Center team of the Environmental and Component Test Directorate received recognition by their selection as recipients of The Technical Cooperation Program Achievement Award for their participation in the Coalition Attack Guidance Experiment II.

Award recipients from RTC include Dr. Ken Lesueur, Mark Ebert, Sean Millich, Joey Thompson, John Hardison, Douglas Miller, Derek Hemsley, Michael O'Connor, Derrick Briscoe, Gregory Denson, Julio Ramos, Jeff Frost, and Gerald Myers. Other team members from outside RTC included Dr. Nancy Bucher, Michael Ferranti, Christopher Stine, Eric Hall and Beri Fraley. These accomplished men and women represent Redstone Test Center, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology/SOS International LLC, General Dynamics, Aegis, Geeks and Nerds Corporation, KAYA, TRIDEUM and Mike Sutton Consulting Incorporated.

The award was initially presented to Dr. LeSueur at the Pentagon, Washington D.C. during the TTCP Award Ceremony May 8. The TTCP gave recognition to the importance of the CAGE II experiment in advancing methods to conduct and evaluate tests using Live, Virtual and Constructive assets. The experiment replicated a joint, coalition operation that utilized integrated air and ground elements operating in the same battlespace.

The TTCP Achievement Award was presented a second time here at home to the DTCC team by Col. Patrick Mason, Commander of RTC, Monday, July 14. Before the usual grip and grin plaque handoff, Mason shared a few words on the significance of this award.

"It furthers the reputation of RTC," said Mason. "Our technical expertise in advancing the art of science of testing is what differentiates. One thing that really extends that technical expertise through the organization is the DTCC."

What is the technical expertise of DTCC? The DTCC team received this award for their cutting edge battlespace integration and technologies -- technologies that heavily advanced peer-to-peer distributed simulation. Through this simulation, we can better understand the interoperability of integrated battlespace command and control systems and processes. With this increased understanding, there is also an increase in situational awareness and effectiveness during real life coalition operations.

By testing in a simulated environment, it is not only more economically sound, but faster and more efficient. This efficiency is crucial as resources continue to dwindle while complexity increases. Although a simulated environment cannot entirely replace the real deal, it is a crucial component to testing that provides a fuller, more comprehensive assessment of equipment and tactics.

Through this advanced assessment, RTC can continue to send out tested equipment with confidence in its reliability. "We have the expertise to know what is good, make it comply and get it out there to the Soldier," said Mason. "That's another thing that differentiates us."

The DTCC team also sets apart RTC by sheer innovation. Mason refers to the technology of DTCC as "the future," putting RTC at the forefront of innovation. The work done by the DTCC team stands in a league entirely of its own, a simulated league. "It is truly something we are blazing the trail on," said Mason. "I am in awe of what you guys do and you can continue to do it."

With their exceptional teamwork, this group has been able to achieve at an extremely high level. Mason recognized the importance of collaboration, communication and teamwork to bring about this development and innovation. "It is important to honor and show pride in your teammates," said Mason. "Everything is a team effort. Nothing happens without the team working together."

While DTCC and RTC often stand as the "men and women behind the curtain," the Colonel closed with an important point. While the workforce at RTC is not in the spotlight, they still make a difference and contribute beyond compare.

"We talk a lot about the persons behind the curtain," said Mason. "As long as testing is more effective at the end of the day you can go home and feel proud that you've improved something." Today, looking at their award, the DTCC team should feel proud of their achievement. However, everyone at RTC should feel proud every day, being a part of such a special and innovative organization.

Congratulations to the Distributed Test Control Center team!

RTC, a subordinate command of the Army Test and Evaluation Command, provides technical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, and capabilities to plan, conduct, analyze, and report the results of tests on missile and aviation systems, sensors, subsystems and components.