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NEWS | Nov. 24, 2020

Team capability secures maintenance excellence awards

By Ms. Jacqueline Boucher

One exceptional team. Two prestigious depot-level maintenance excellence awards.

Achievements in maintenance and sustainment operations for Team Tobyhanna’s AN/TSC-167 Satellite Transportable Terminal (STT) Depot Maintenance Program secured the 2020 Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards Program, Robert T. Mason Award and the Army Chief of Staff Logistics Excellence Awards (LEA) Program, Army Award for Maintenance Excellence (AAME).

Tobyhanna Army Depot employees surged production of 157 STT assets during the period of performance, a 450 percent increase, to meet U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) and combatant commands global requirements, according to the nomination package. The effort also generated more than 150,000 labor-hours of critical maintenance activities in support of units around the world.

“As a key readiness enabler within the Strategic Support Area, Tobyhanna’s objective is to posture the Army with high quality STTs ideally suited for tactical communications missions in support of multi-domain operations,” said Tony Brandi, C4ISR Directorate’s SATCOM System Division chief. “Team members rose to the challenge increasing STT readiness through focused and strategic initiatives.”

Officials noted that depot personnel employed continuous process improvement to increase operational readiness and forward progress enabling a 54-day average turnaround time per satellite terminal, a repair cycle time decrease of 56 days from the previous fiscal year.

Furthermore, the organic industrial base installation provided forward depot maintenance support to Army field support brigades, trained warrant officers, and traveled to active and National Guard units to provide urgent and tactical maintenance support that boosted U.S. Army global operational readiness.

“In order to bring maintenance to the Soldier, Tobyhanna developed unique opportunities to provide training and technical skill set expertise to warfighters at both the depot and forward locations,” said John Scott, TACSAT Systems Branch chief. “By having agile teams to support units with urgent needs, the depot effectively enhances readiness to the field by keeping the fleet fully mission capable.”

STT overhaul, carried out at Tobyhanna Army Depot since 2013, includes the replacement of cables, line replaceable units and a full paint job. The depot’s overhaul effort brings aging equipment coming from theater to a like-new state. Employees in organizations throughout the installation play an active role in the success of the program. Personnel here have joined forces with the Army’s PEO-C3T (Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications -Tactical) Project Manager (PM) Tactical Network and U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command’s Integrated Logistics Support Center officials to deliver the critical communications systems to the warfighter faster maximizing readiness and training opportunities.

“I can’t say enough good things about the team. They worked hard and deserve this award,” said Depot Deputy Commander Frank Zardecki. “The STT program continues to push the envelope and exceed expectations.”

The AMME program recognizes Army organizations that have demonstrated excellence in maintenance operations. Assessments of each unit in the categories of attitude and effective leadership are rated with a benchmark based on those of past winners, and the tenets of exceptional maintenance processes that were exhibited are validated and ranked.

The chief of staff of the Army thanked all the units that participated in this year’s competition.

“Your participation is indicative of your dedication to increasing readiness and providing first class support,” Gen. James McConville said in a message announcing the 2020 winners. “The outstanding logistics program in your organization has significantly improved overall readiness in the Army. Continue to focus on the fundamentals, and continue to raise awareness and adherence to the LEA program.”

The Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards Program recognizes the Department of Defense’s most outstanding military maintenance units in four categories: field-level; Robert T. Mason Award for Depot Maintenance Excellence; Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper Award for Software Maintenance Excellence; and Sustainment Training, Advice, and Assistance of Foreign Military Forces Award.

The Robert T. Mason Trophy for depot-level maintenance recognizes one program at a major organic depot-level maintenance facility that exemplifies responsive and effective depot-level support to operating units. It is named after Robert T. Mason, former Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defense for Maintenance Policy, Programs, and Resources, who was responsible for DOD depot maintenance operations during three decades of government service.

“Bob and I worked together for many years, he was a true gentleman and champion for depot maintenance,” Zardecki said, remembering how Mason was instrumental in promoting Tobyhanna’s capabilities and expertise. “He supported Tobyhanna during the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, and thanks to him, Tobyhanna expanded its joint forces workload. I think he’d be pleased that Team Tobyhanna triumphed this year.”