CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Amidst the cooling weather by the bay, the Army Aviation Association of America hosted the 14th Luther G. Jones Army Aviation Depot Forum at the Solomon P. Ortiz International Center, Corpus Christi, October 24-25, 2018.
Hundreds of aviation professionals, national and local officials, military members, industry leaders, retirees and enthusiasts, were on hand to network, and enhance awareness and efficiencies in the field of Army Aviation and maintenance.
The forum, named after former CCAD commander and Corpus Christi Mayor, entertained dozens of speakers, panel members and sponsor booths, all focused on this year's theme "CCAD: The Cornerstone of Aviation Readiness."
COL Gail Atkins, CCAD Commander, led off the forum with an update on CCAD's current and future readiness, which focuses on the Army's warfighter's success.
"(Warfighter success) is the ability to fight and win tonight and ensure their victory over our enemies tomorrow anywhere in the world," said Atkins.
The current state of depot readiness is focused on several initiatives that source aviation readiness, evolve our enterprise and community partnerships, and enable the Depot "to provide the highest possible quality aviation product and services when our customers need them at the best value," said Atkins.
Atkins said CCAD's future outlook goes beyond digital solutions and processes, and into networking and community partnerships.
"We hope to pursue new collaborative opportunities with academic institutions that will mutually support both the depot's human capital management strategy and our community's modernization plans," she said.
For CCAD, its overall future end state will be to support sustainable strategic depth for the aviation enterprise.
The strategic depth platform is one derived from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Huntsville, Alabama, said Bill Marriott, forum keynote speaker and Deputy to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command.
Marriott said AMCOM has more than 30 aviation readiness drivers - parts that are the most critical in times of increased operations and are key to CCAD's component repair output and our Soldiers and Joint partners having "ready" aviation systems.
"(AMCOM) is focused on improving supply availability and improving our support to our Soldiers. We are doing this by putting in place a structured development program for our item managers, prioritizing the readiness drivers, improving our parts forecasting, seeking longer term contracts, realigning our organizations, and building a proactive partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency," said Marriott.
Marriott said AMCOM's main effort is centered on improving supply chain management, which he called "extremely complex."
The complexity is based on a need for all depots and partners to communicate and work better collectively to sustain the readiness of our nation, said Marriott.
"We are all seeking the same thing, a strong National Defense, and strong Army Aviation is key to a strong National Defense" said Marriott.
Additional speakers and panel members led discussions on the current and future state of Army Aviation.
Donald Nitti, acting Executive Director for AMCOM Logistics Center, expanded on strategic depth saying it involves correct data as a key point of communication, changes to onboarding item managers, more in-depth processes for contracts and further supply engagements with partners.
We will "continue to engage partnerships. We want that communication to work," said Nitti.
From a local perspective, Corpus Christi Mayor, Joe McComb, said CCAD has a positive economic impact on the city. He also shared his respect for the CCAD artisans and anyone who wants to call Corpus Christi home.
Rep. Michael Cloud, representing the 27th Congressional District, said Army Aviation is vital to national defense.
"Our nation's air superiority is indispensable to the nation's defense," said Cloud.
The continued work at CCAD, the products and the value of the artisan's work is being noticed on a national level, he added.
Panel discussions spoke to the CCAD field teams, training and sustainment of all Army depots, DLA's kit builds and forecasting, the ongoing support and work of the Army's Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Groups, and outlook of CCAD as a respective maintenance, repair and overhaul platform, said Nitti.
Other discussions were based on CCAD's future workforce efforts, including partnerships with the Texas Workforce Solutions, Fort Hood's Transition Assistant Program, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi's Reserve Officers' Training Corps, the South Texas Military Facilities Task Force, and future programs with local schools.
Final forum discussions were on OEM partners, future programs, and Program Executive Office - Aviation updates.
Representatives from Boeing, General Electric Co., Honeywell International Inc., and Parker Hannifin, said the future of partnerships is capitalizing on strategic depth by optimizing supply chains and sufficient data sharing.
COL Steve Clark, PEO program manager, said there are many complexities in future aviation efforts that will drive our maintenance operations, to include autonomous flight and vertical lift helicopters.
Another aspect of future aviation is what we will expect of our aviators, how they will think, react and the need for a change in the dynamic of helicopter controls and instruments they will use, said Clark.
Artisan of the Year
One artisan is recognized at each forum with the AAAA Donald F. Luce Depot Maintenance Artisan of the Year award for outstanding individual contribution to Army Aviation in the area of Depot maintenance.
This year's winner was SGT Cameron Renth, Company F, Task Force 1-160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Renth was nominated for conducting more than 100 Maintenance Engineering
Calls for non-standard repairs, depot level repairs, and countless unit level repairs while assisting others in his shop, all within one year, according to the award citation.
"It's incredible to be recognized for this award," said Renth.
While the award is honor itself, Renth said it was really a team effort that brought on his success.
"I'm not the only one who works hard," said Renth, "our success is more about working as a team."
Renth said he is just a small cog in a larger machine. He may be the only person in his unit with a specific training, but the entire company is the true support of the 160th SOAR.
Artisan Question and Answer
More than 150 artisans took part in a professional exchange with PEO Aviation Program Managers and Product Support Managers.
Atkins stressed the importance of sustainable aviation readiness, depot capabilities and the aviation assets to fight and win tonight.
LTC Andrew Duus, product manager, ended the forum with words of encouragement to the workforce and excitement of the upcoming Black Hawk platform CCAD will be taking on.
"I cannot begin to tell you about the great value on recaps that we receive from this great organization month in and month out. This is a very exciting time. The first UH-60 L to L to V version will be here at CCAD in January 2019.