The Department of Defense (DoD) announced the 2011 winner of the Phoenix Award, part of the 2011 Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards, on Nov. 16, 2011, at the 2011 DoD Maintenance Symposium and Exhibition in Fort Worth, Texas. The field-level maintenance award honors military maintenance organizations for outstanding performance. The awardee is chosen from active and reserve organizations performing unit or field-level maintenance and singled out as the best of the best.
The 2011 winner of the Phoenix Award for field-level maintenance is the Marine Corps’ Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1 (VMAQ-1) at Cherry Point, N.C. VMAQ-1 deployed on short notice to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, and immediately established self-sufficient support and sustainment. The squadron’s intermediate maintenance support detachment of 26 Marines built facilities from the ground up. During its six-month Operation Enduring Freedom deployment, VMAQ-1 flew 590 sorties for a total of 2,293 flight hours; a 340 percent increase over normal operations and a 99.8 percent sortie completion rate. Overcoming a scarcity of equipment, manpower, and resources, the maintenance department maintained an 84.9 percent mission capable rate for squadron aircraft, exceeding all previous deployment records. In addition, using AIRSpeed and other innovative maintenance practices, the squadron decreased the normal yearly cost for ordered components by half, from $11 million to $5.8 million.