By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)May 17, 2018
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The depot celebrated the completion of a foreign military sales program involving 222 M1 tanks for Morocco with a rollout ceremony May 4.
The first vehicles of the 222 were inducted in September 2015 and the first 22 were completed by ANAD and shipped to Morocco in less than 12 months.
"It normally takes two or three years for that number. This was a tremendous success," said Dan Turnas, Tank-automotive and Armaments Command production leader for the Morocco Program Office.
The 222 vehicles were produced in partnership with General Dynamics Land Systems.
GDLS produced 150 vehicles through use of the Abrams Integrated Management process at Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio.
Through the AIM process, ANAD disassembles the vehicle, performs welding and machining on the chassis and turret structures as well as refurbishment of the cannon and major components. The depot then sends the "rusty," so named because of its oxidized appearance during transport, to Lima for assembly.
The depot completely overhauled 72 vehicles over the last two and half years.
"This effort is a compilation of tremendous skills, diligence, dedication and selfless service from everyone who turned a wrench, welded, machined, sprayed paint or indirectly supported the program," said Col. Joel Warhurst, the depot's commander.
Less than three years is an impressive time frame for completion of this large number of vehicles.
"There was an aggressive schedule and tight budget, but we knew Anniston was capable of delivering," said Turnas.
"Each and every one of you doing your part, doing it well and on time, is what makes programs like this one a success," said Jeff Simmons, the depot's director of Production Management during the rollout ceremony.
The tight time frame for the program often meant long hours in the production shops.
"Some of you worked many long hours and weekends to support the mission. I want to let you know that this has not gone unnoticed," said Simmons.
Pam Laymon, DPM's lead material management specialist for the M1 family of vehicles, said the installation overcame a lot of challenges with parts in order to deliver on time.
"All employees, from the Defense Logistics Agency through the depot's mechanics were conscious of the tight schedule for the program and went out of the way to ensure work was done on time and to specifications," she said.
Laymon additionally praised the workforce for overcoming the additional challenge of implementing the Complex Assembly and Manufacturing Solution in the midst of production.
Over the life of the program, the depot executed more than 946,000 direct labor hours.
"I can't say enough about the effort and dedication put forth by these mechanics to ensure ANAD did not fail," said Reggie Henry, chief of the Final Operations Division in the Directorate of Production. "The bar was set high and they exceeded it. Vehicles were ready for inspection when the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center arrived. The handoff was a success because of great teamwork."
The support from ANAD didn't end when the vehicles were turned over to the Defense Logistics Agency for transport.
Depot employees supported the vehicles almost all the way to Morocco -- assisting in off-loading the tanks from rail cars at the port, loading them onto the boats for transport and then meeting the vehicles in Morocco to assist with de-processing of the vehicles.
De-processing involves removing all packaging material used during shipment of the M1s and reinstallation of components which were removed for shipping purposes.
"The goal is to get it off the boat and get it mission-capable," said Jonathan Hathaway, a maintenance management specialist from DPM.
In country, depot employees were then tasked to train Moroccans on the use of the vehicle and proper preventative maintenance.
"We have set a good standard of quality," said Hathaway. "It speaks highly of our workforce that the Moroccans have requested our folks to come back."
According to Turnas, Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States when it declared its independence.
"From their perspective, they are our oldest ally," he said. "This tank program solidifies that international relationship."