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Release No: 319-97
June 19, 1997


The 1997 Department of Defense Maintenance Awards, including the prestigious Phoenix Trophy, were given out today during a ceremony held at the Pentagon. The awards were presented by John J. Hamre, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller). The Maintenance Awards recognize annually the most significant weapon system and equipment maintenance achievements within the DoD.

All four military services were represented this year in the competition categories of small, medium, and large units. This is the 13th year of the Maintenance Awards program that was established to encourage maintenance excellence, to recognize outstanding achievements in maintenance management and production, and to demonstrate the essential role of maintenance in the readiness and sustainability of U. S. forces. The program is sponsored in conjunction with the American Defense Preparedness Association/National Security Industrial Association.

The 1997 Maintenance Awards recipients are:

Marine Corps -- First Maintenance Battalion, First Force Service Support Group, Marine Forces Pacific, Camp Pendleton, Calif. -- Winner of the Phoenix Trophy, which recognizes the most significant weapon system and equipment maintenance achievements within DoD. The Marines and sailors of this battalion distinguished themselves by providing logistics support to numerous units throughout the Pacific theater. As a result of their Total Quality Leadership initiatives and the process improvements which streamlined supply and maintenance functions, equipment readiness was maintained well above 90 percent. In addition, the average time equipment and spares spent in the repair cycle dropped by 77 percent. As a result of this battalion's accomplishments, the Field Supply and Maintenance Analysis Office of Headquarters Marine Corps has redefined excellence for the unit. Processes that were previously measured in weeks and months are now tracked by hours and days.

Air Force -- 66th Rescue Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. -- This squadron distinguished itself by accomplishing superior aircraft maintenance last year. The squadron's maintenance capabilities were challenged by an unprecedented year of growth, operational taskings, and unit deployments while maintaining outstanding HH-60G helicopter support to the Air Force Weapons School and the 57th Test Group. The unit deployed twice to the Republic of Kuwait to conduct combat search and rescue duty in support of Operation Southern Watch. While deployed, the unit maintained two aircraft on 24-hour alert status, flew more than 400 hours with zero air aborts, and sustained a mission capable rate of 92 percent, exceeding Air Combat Command standards by 17 percent.

Air Force -- 8th Maintenance Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, Korea -- This unit distinguished itself through superior aircraft and munitions maintenance. The men and women of the squadron exhibited exceptional innovation, teamwork, and a warrior spirit which propelled the 8th Fighter Wing's "Wolf Pack" to new levels of excellence in peacetime and wartime capabilities. They provided flawless flight line support that enabled the Wolf Pack to fly more than 11,000 safe sorties including over 1,800 during two major deployments, the Wing's first in more than five years. The squadron improved processes that saved more than $10 million and over 4,300 man-hours.

Navy -- Shore Intermediate Maintenance Squadron (SIMA), San Diego, Calif. -- This SIMA expended some 1,047,000 active duty man-hours while working seven days per week and frequently 24 hours per day in correcting more than 800 mission-critical equipment casualties and more than 23,000 customer jobs. This prodigious effort enabled four Battle Groups and four Amphibious Readiness Groups, as well as other individual units to deploy in a very high state of combat readiness. Additionally, SIMA San Diego fulfilled its vitally important vision of training fleet sailors in the latest techniques of equipment and system maintenance and repair. The contributions made by this activity proved to be vital in maintaining the outstanding combat readiness of Pacific Fleet units.

Navy -- Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Four, U. S. Naval Forces, Europe -- As the premier Heavy Combat Support Squadron operating the fleet's most maintenance intensive aircraft, HC-4's accomplishments at diverse and austere worldwide detachment sites were extraordinary despite continuously deployed manpower and limited aircraft resources. The squadron's achievements in aviation maintenance were particularly noteworthy, allowing them to set operational and readiness records in virtually every H-53 type aircraft while directly meeting every tasking.

Army -- 181st Transportation Battalion, U. S. Army Europe -- This group provided exceptionally distinguished direct support to the NATO Implementation Force for Operation Joint Endeavor. The battalion operated under arduous and austere conditions while providing transportation support for numerous Germany based support missions. The members of the 181st demonstrated truly exceptional technical and tactical expertise, tremendous flexibility and agility in deploying Task Force Eagle into the former Yugoslavia. There they sustained the task force and then concurrently deployed elements of the 1st Infantry Division out of the Balkans area of responsibility.

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