FORT SILL, Okla -- A young, hard-working Army civilian electronics technician, with extensive technical expertise, was selected for a prestigious award by the Air Traffic Control Association an independent organization that promotes aviation.

Michael Herod, 27, won the ATCA Airway Transportation Systems Specialist of the Year Award.

Herod works at the Henry Post Army Airfield here in the Air Traffic Control Maintenance Division, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. He maintains the airfield's radars, communications equipment and navigational beacons.

"I was happy that I got it," said Herod, an Air Force veteran. "The reason would be because I have a good boss and good co-workers that's makes pretty easy."

Herod will receive his award Monday during the 54th Annual ATCA Conference in National Harbor, Md. His supervisor, Leon Slack, will travel with him to the ceremony.
Slack said Herod was deserving of the award.

"Michael's been a strong performer," Slack said. "He works well with others and independently and he is comfortable working with all the different electronic systems we have."

Some of Herod's performance highlights the past year include the installation of an additional Radar Acquisition and Display System console, which has contributed to flight safety at the airfield.

He also worked 14-plus hour days for two weeks to assist the Federal Aviation Administration's Air Traffic Control Beacon Interrogator optimization team on modifications to the beacon interrogator.

And, Herod planned, supervised, and assisted in the refurbishment and replacement of the Precision Approach Radar armature arms.

Herod described the six-person maintenance shop as a fun work environment.
"We all work pretty steady, we all work together and we all have a good time doing it," he said.

A typical day for Herod begins by checking his e-mails and then going to the job board to find out what needs to be fixed.

"First, we do the corrective maintenance, and then we do the preventative maintenance," said Herod, who is in his junior year at Cameron University majoring in math.

Herod said the best part of his job is trouble shooting problems and fixing gear with his co-workers.

"When you go to a piece of equipment that is broken and you have no idea what the problem is and then you find it, you fix it and give it back to Air Traffic so that they can continue doing their job," said Heron, who lives in Elgin, with his wife, Chanda, and their two dogs.

What's the most challenging part of his job'

"Working on the FPN-40 Precision Approach Radar it's an old piece of equipment," said Herod, pointing to a vacuum tube. "Before I came into the Army I had never seen an old-school vacuum tube."

Originally from the Dallas-area, Herod graduated from Rockwall (Texas) High School in 2000. In 2003, he enlisted in the Air Force and attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. After basic, he attended a nine-month technical school at Kessler Air Force Base, Miss., and was then was assigned to Altus Air Force Base. At Altus, Herod worked on ground radars and then left the military after three years with a service-connected disability. Herod continued to work at Altus as a civilian electronics technician. He came to Fort Sill in the summer of 2007.

Herod said that he is looking forward to going to the Washington, D.C.-area to receive his award.

"I've never been there so I'm going to see some of the monuments," he said.