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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Dec. 8, 2021) – The mission was not a small one – coordinating all maintenance and sustainment engineering support for Army helicopter operations worldwide – but every day, Kevin Rees worked tirelessly to support and sustain the Soldier.

The Army aviation community will say farewell to Rees, chief of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center Systems Readiness Directorate’s Maintenance Airworthiness Engineering Division, with a retirement ceremony and celebration at Corpus Christi Army Depot this week. Rees is set to retire Dec. 31, after 37 years of civil service.

“Under Kevin’s leadership, maintenance engineering was taken to a whole new level within Army Aviation,” said Chris Hodges, DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center technical deputy director for airworthiness. “Kevin helped pioneer an improved process to provide the maintainers with engineering expertise at the point of need. His work addressed a demand that surged between 10,000 to 20,000 Maintenance Engineering Calls each year from both the field and the depot that paid huge dividends in readiness rates of the enduring fleet.”

An Illinois native, Rees began his civil service career in March 1984. Throughout his time with the Army, he’s deployed to the Middle East, been stationed in Germany as an Army Materiel Command science advisor, received advanced training at places like the Army Management Staff College, and managed an organization of approximately 125 engineers with an annual operation budget of more than $30 million.

Through it all, he’s seen DEVCOM AvMC’s role in aviation evolve. While “technology has been a big change in how we do business,” so have the conflicts the United States has been involved with.

“For the first 20 years of my career with the Army it was all about training and preparing, readiness for some unknown, future event,” Rees said. “The last half of my career (after 9/11) was being engaged. That’s a dramatic difference.”
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ASCII (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

In 2020 he described his role with the Army for his alma mater, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, when he received their alumni Career Achievement award.

“I am part of a huge team – the U.S. Army,” Rees wrote. “I play a focused role, ensuring that our Soldiers have access to safe and airworthy aircraft when they need them. Every time that a U.S. Army Black Hawk picks a person up off of a flooded rooftop after a hurricane, my team has been a part of that action. Every time that a CH-47 brings construction supplies to a remote clinic in Liberia during an Ebola epidemic, my team supported that action. And, in the case of the Ebola epidemic, an engineer was on the ground assisting those Soldiers in fixing their aircraft – and that engineer in Liberia was recruited, trained and deployed by my team.

“The U.S. Army has made some tremendous contributions to humanity with countless lives saved, not to mention freedoms preserved. And I feel like I have played a vital role on that team.”

While his professional accomplishments and awards are many, to include the Secretary of Defense Global War on Terrorism Superior Civilian Support medal and the Silver Order of St. Michael Medal, Rees is quick to share the credit with not only with his coworkers, but especially his family — wife Irma, and sons, Dallas and Brandon.

“She’s had to make sacrifices,” Rees said of his wife. “The whole family has for me to do what I do and I probably have taken that for granted more than I should. There’s always people behind us. If we achieve things, we’re not doing it on our own.”

Come January he may not be working full-time anymore but Rees will stay plenty active, volunteering with the Gideons International, serving his church and spending time with family, especially his two grandchildren.

Rees offered the following advice to the coworkers and teammates he leaves behind.

“I hope that they care for one another,” Rees said. “I love the people that work here. I think I have a caring connection.

“I hope that they’re committed to excellence. And I think one of my traits – not sure how well I’ve engrained it into the DNA of the organization – is that I try not to walk past a mistake. If you see something that’s not right – it’s kind of like cockroaches, where there’s one, there’s more – you need to stop and figure out why it’s not right, see what other things aren’t right like that, and fix it. Fix what caused it. Don’t just step on the cockroach and walk on. That’s how you get better.”

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The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.