By Galen PutnamJuly 31, 2007
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - The Rock Island Arsenal Joint Technology and Manufacturing Center received the Army Superior Unit Award at an awards ceremony here presided over by Gen. Benjamin S. Griffin, U.S. Army Materiel Command commanding general.
The Army Superior Unit Award is one of the Army's highest unit-level honors. The award is bestowed upon units that exhibit outstanding meritorious performance while executing a difficult and challenging mission under extraordinary circumstances in a geographical area in which combat awards are not authorized.
The unit must display such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks that it sets itself apart from and above other units with similar missions.
"The Army Superior Unit Award is the most prestigious non-combat zone award the Army can bestow on an organization," Griffin said after reciting a litany of RIA-JMTC accomplishments and commending the workforce.
"The [RIA-JMTC] flag will forever carry this streamer. One hundred years from now that streamer will still be there and people will be reminded of your accomplishments."
The award takes on an added significance considering the organization has never received a Department of the Army-level unit award, despite continued service since the Civil War.
"This award highlights the fact that proximity to the battlefield does not predicate the importance an organization plays in support of those fighting on the front lines," said Col. Bruce Elliott, RIA-JMTC commander, who accepted the award from Griffin.
"Having been firmly planted here since 1862, the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center is not designed to pack-up and deploy to the fight like frontline Army units, rather our one-of-a-kind manufacturing facility supports our military forces worldwide from our humble home right here in the heart of America - every day."
The RIA-JMTC is one of the Army's most unique entities. It is the only vertically-integrated metal manufacturing facility in the Department of Defense and is the Army's only remaining foundry.
It is also the Army's only Shingo Gold Prize Award Winner for Excellence in Manufacturing. The Shingo Gold Prize is considered the "Nobel Prize" of manufacturing.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of the RIA-JMTC, is its personnel - one Soldier, Elliott, and more than 1,200 civilian employees.
Elliott emphasized the important role his civilian "Soldiers" play.
"This award recognizes the hard work, ingenuity and overall dedication of our highly-skilled workforce. It is to all of you this award is truly dedicated," he said.
In the citation, the RIA-JMTC was lauded for outstanding meritorious service in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
"Every aspect of the center's core expertise was applied to the achievement of its success in the production of army, artillery, small arms and mobile maintenance platforms that supported the U.S. Warfighters. The US Army Rock Island Arsenal-JMTC's demonstrated commitment and performance of duty reflects great credit upon the center and the United States Army."