By Kari Hawkins, USAG RedstoneMarch 30, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.--As these planning meetings go, the Aviation and Missile Materiel Enterprise Strategic Review didn't break any rules - senior leaders of different organizations within the enterprise spoke bluntly of challenges they face while their peers listened intently and solutions were considered.
But the schedule did veer a little off onto the unbeaten path right after lunch March 23 at the Von Braun Center, when the Army Materiel Command's commander Gen. Ann Dunwoody and Dr. Malcolm O'Neill, the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, recognized a small group of Aviation and Missile Materiel Enterprise employees.
"We canvassed all five organizations that make up the enterprise here and asked for candidates that best represent the outstanding work of hundreds of employees," Col. Skip Sherrell, chief of staff for the Aviation and Missile Command, said.
And with that, the following Redstone Arsenal employees were recognized:
Program Executive Office for Aviation - Timothy Calcote (an Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center employee matrixed to PEO Aviation) was recognized for his work in completing acceptance testing of the first four Pakistan army Mi-17 aircraft in Lithuania. His efforts to expedite aircraft inspections in extreme cold and icy weather conditions, and to rapidly coordinate data collection and assessment for test flight safety risk acceptance facilitated on-time delivery to the Pakistan army.
Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space - Jim Elliott was recognized for leading a multi-disciplined team of launcher and munition technical experts that provided crucial on-the-ground support to a deployed launcher unit in Afghanistan. Under Elliott's leadership, the team established and maintained superb communications with the supported unit, provided necessary software updates, advised the unit on proper ammunition storage and handling procedures, and conducted launcher crew training sessions. Elliott's efforts reinforced confidence in Precision Fires launcher and rocket systems, and improved crew performance.
Aviation and Missile Command - Seth Morgan, of the Security Assistance Management Directorate, was recognized for his management of foreign military sales cases to provide the government of Iraq with Bell Training-407 aircraft to meet Iraq and Operation Iraqi Freedom mission requirements. When he assumed case management duties in December 2009, there was no logistics package in place to deliver the T-407s and the delivery schedule was at risk. He developed a total package approach to these foreign military sales cases, which eased demands on U.S. war fighters while building lasting partnerships in the spirit of Operation New Dawn.
Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center -- Kevin Kee was recognized for supporting the highly visible Mi-17 engineering team. He successfully led efforts to issue airworthiness releases for initial and continued airworthiness of the Afghanistan Mi-17 fleet. He traveled to Afghanistan to conduct airworthiness assessments and firing tests. His efforts allowed Army aviators to safely train Afghanistan pilots which will help Afghan troops become self-sustaining and bring Soldiers home sooner. He is now applying his leadership and technical expertise to the Czech Republic, Croatia, Yemen and other countries.
Army Contracting Command -- Ernestine Small was recognized for support of non-standard foreign military sales programs to more than 70 foreign nations and international customers. She provided contracting knowledge and experience in the timely purchase of commercial helicopters to support the government of Mexico's War on Drugs; the purchase of helicopters to support the government of Pakistan; and was instrumental in the execution of Contractor Field Service support to the Pakistan government.
"This was a pretty neat ceremony. I was very surprised," said award recipient Calcote, whose wife, Lana, attended the ceremony. "I have an awesome job. I love supporting the guys in the field."
Long work hours and a trip to Lithuania in support of the Pakistani army's Mi-17 program meant Calcote's wife had to make sacrifices so her husband could support war fighters.
"He's gone a lot," she said. "So, he wanted me to be here for this award. I'm glad to be here for him."
Fellow recipient Morgan, a graduate student at the University of Alabama-Huntsville who began working for AMCOM about two and a half years ago, was equally surprised about his recognition.
"I found out yesterday about this," the 29-year-old said. "It's a pretty overwhelming honor, a pretty amazing experience getting an award from a commanding general and in front of this type of audience."
The challenge of working with foreign countries is a job opportunity that Morgan doesn't think he could match anywhere else.
"Dealing a lot with foreign countries and working with international business is incredibly fascinating," Morgan said. "Working in the field of international affairs has always been an interest to me. There are really very few other places where you can do this kind of work, and where you can work with foreign governments that are on the radar with the president."
The work was also a challenge for Morgan, who faced intense schedule demands in meeting the Operation Iraqi Freedom requirements for the Bell Training-407 aircraft.
"The timelines were dictated by political leaders. It was very intense with management and execution," he said.
Morgan's wife, Jessica, and their son, 15-month-old Stuart, also attended the awards ceremony. The young family is expecting a second baby.
"I'm here today to support my husband. This is important work for him, and I am so very proud of him," Jessica Morgan said.