By Belinda LeeJune 19, 2007
"Wow, what can I say," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., during a Red River ceremony held May 23 recognizing the production of the 10,000th HMMWV at the depot. Kicking off the ceremony, Depot Commander Col. Douglas J. Evans noted several monumental milestones the HMMWV production area has achieved. It was in mid 2004 that the first HMMWV rolled off the production line at RRAD with a production rate of three a week. Through the use of lean initiatives, the production rate increased to 44 vehicles per month in November 2004. The successes continued when in June 2005 a new one-day record was accomplished of 21 vehicles produced in one ten hour shift. Employee ownership and increased per-person productivity grabbed the production line, resulting in a 75 percent reduction in labor cost per vehicle. By February 2006, a production rate of 32 vehicles per day was achieved. The HMMWV line has continued to adjust production schedules to meet mandated Army schedules and the team continues to stay on target (or ahead of schedule) each month. As a result of the increased production rates, at the completion of the 2006 fiscal year, Red River realized $3.89 million cost avoidance in the HMMWV program. This cost avoidance enabled the depot to produce 65 additional vehicles for the warfighter at no additional cost. "Red River has the best employees. The HMMWV line has gone through a long journey for the last three years but the work you men and women are doing has really paid off. This is one of the reasons Red River is recognized as the number one depot in the Department of Defense," said Evans while addressing the assembled group of workers. During the ceremony Casey said, "Two things caught my eye while visiting the different sites here, the first one is the sign with the Soldier that says 'we build it as if our lives depend on it, theirs do.' The second thing, there is a certain level of pride on each person's face I talked to today as I walked through. You deserve everything you have received. You are one of our crown jewels of the Army." Casey assumed the responsibility as the Army's senior uniformed officer April 10, following his 30-month rotation in Iraq as commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq. He is dedicating the first 60 days of his appointment to traveling and visiting many facilities to get a sense of what is happening. Red River is the first depot he has visited. During Casey's visit of the depot facility he toured the HMMWV mixed-model line (recap/reset), the Bradley Power Pack facility, the BAE/Red River Bradley partnership project and the HEAT production area located in the Machine Shop facility.