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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
MDMC earns top depot maintenance excellence award

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | September 17, 2015


Marine Depot Maintenance Command is the recent recipient of the Robert T. Mason Award for Depot Maintenance Excellence for 2015.

This marks MDMC’s third Robert T. Mason Award. The command won it in 2005 and 2007.

Each year, the Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards Program recognizes outstanding achievements by field-level units engaged in military equipment and weapons systems maintenance within the Department of Defense, according to its website, www.acq.osd.mil/log/mpp/awards.html.

Highlighted throughout the award citation are MDMC’s Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment Division’s accomplishments.

Rick Pavlik, division manager, TMDE, MDMC, said receiving the award is a high honor for his team.

“TMDE’s mission is to provide tools to help Marine maintainers to calibrate and repair their weapons systems and equipment as efficiently as possible by giving them state-of-the-art equipment,” Pavlik said.

According to the award citation, “The TMDE team excelled at delivering world-class, value-based repair and test solutions in support of the warfighter during fiscal year 2014. The team calibrated, repaired and tested more than 20,000 pieces of equipment and provided training to approximately 900 Marines throughout the world.”

TMDE oversees contracts from third-party companies that build equipment and provide technical oversight during the purchase process, according to Pavlik.

After the equipment is received, TMDE staff trains the Marines on how to operate the new equipment as well as provides follow-up visits to assist the Marines.

“(It is rewarding) to create a piece of equipment and physically see a Marine use it to fix his or her broken weapons systems,” he said.  

The citation further stated, “(TMDE) also produced more than $2 million in cost avoidances, generated cost savings of more than $600,000 and realized more than $2 million in return on investments.”

Pavlik said TMDE strives to be innovative in its maintenance support while saving the Marine Corps money.

“In this time of budgetary constraints, anytime you can save money for the taxpayer, that’s a good thing for the Marine Corps,” he said.

Steven Prewitt, project coordinator, Weapons Systems Support, TMDE Division, MDMC, said he was proud of TMDE’s achievement.

“It’s definitely a sense of pride and humbling at the same time,” Prewitt said. “There are a lot of other people doing a lot of great things, too, and to be recognized amongst so many people doing so many great things I think is phenomenal.”

The depot-level award is named for Robert T. Mason, a former assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for maintenance policy, programs, and resources, according to www.acq.osd.mil/log/mpp/awards.html.

MDMC and TMDE officials will receive the award at the Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards Program banquet and ceremony scheduled for Dec. 8 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Inside TMDE

Pavlik said receiving the award is a great accomplishment for the TMDE team.

TMDE employees work on a variety of equipment from handheld wind and weather meters used by Marine Corps snipers to the Virtual Instrument Portable Equipment Repairer/Tester system, a multi-million dollar system used to test electronic equipment.

One type of Marine Corps gear the staff tests with the VIPER/T system at TMDE is the Thermal Laser Spot Imager.

According to Prewitt, the Thermal Laser Spot Imager is used by artillery unit forward observers to identify targets and ensure targets are properly marked by a laser designator.

“Here at TMDE, we are able to use our VIPER/T system to make sure the Thermal Laser Spot Imagers are functioning properly and that they meet certain performance specifications and requirements by the Marine Corps,” he said.

Prewitt, who has been a project coordinator for five years at TMDE, uses the VIPER/T system to test the Thermal Laser Spot Imager’s ability to identify up to 14 different size targets.

Much of the older test equipment was big, heavy and cumbersome, according to Prewitt.

“Today, we are able to provide the Marines equipment that is used in optics laboratories and facilities and it is easier for them to maintain,” he said.

Prewitt has firsthand knowledge how the test equipment can help Marine maintainers. He served in the Marine Corps as an electro optical ordnance maintainer from 1995-2000. With his knowledge of the old and new systems, he understands what the Marines need.

“Marines want to fix their own gear and we try and provide a way for the Marines to maintain their equipment as far forward (deployed) as possible,” he said. “It makes me feel better knowing they have better tools and test equipment than what I had when I was in and are more skilled and more efficient in the way they do their maintenance.”