From left to right, Col. Steven Girard, commanding officer, Marine Aviation Detachment and commanding officer, MCAA John Glenn Squadron; Maj. Gen. Mark Wise, deputy commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command / assistant deputy commandant for Combat Development and Integration; Lt. Col. Russel Strange, deputy program manager Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Small Tactical UAS Program Office (PMA-263) and recipient of the Acquisition Officer of the Year; and Mr. Scott McGowan, vice president and program director for H-1 and Fire Scout, Bell at the MCAA John Glenn Squadron banquet held Jan. 30 at NAS Patuxent River. (U.S. Navy photo)

Strange named Marine Corps acquisition officer of the year

The Marine Corps Aviation Association (MCAA) John Glenn squadron presented  Lt. Col Russell Strange with the Acquisition Officer of the Year award during its annual banquet Jan. 30 at NAS Patuxent River.

The Marines recognized Strange for his exceptional acquisition and leadership efforts to support the medium UAS (MUAS) programs within the Navy and Marine Corps Small UAS program office (PMA-263).

“This recognition is really highlighting the work the PMA-263 team has been doing for our Marines and Sailors; and I am honored just to be the face accepting on their behalf,” Strange said. “There is a long line of great Marines on the past awardees list and I believe they would all agree that this is a team award going to an individual.”Strange’s efforts directly led to proactive, enterprise-wide solutions for the fleet and a more cohesive Navy and Marine Corps UAS vision for the RQ-21A Blackjack. He also assisted the fleet in sustaining one of the highest readiness levels across the entire Naval Aviation Enterprise.

He charted new territory for small UAS by helping the Marines develop requirements and funding for an unmanned airborne logistics capability. He led a team that has established a prize competition fly-off to showcase existing technology that meets the requirements for a Tactical Resupply UAS, in support of future UAS capability in the fleet.

“Lt. Col. Strange’s exceptional aviation acquisition knowledge, fleet experience, and superb leadership led to a stronger, more successful MUAS team,” said Col. John Neville, PMA-263 program manager. “He was a leader and catalyst for several key initiatives that resulted in the RQ-21A Blackjack reaching readiness levels above 80 percent as well as helping to set the course for the future of small unmanned logistics supply.”

The MCAA John Glenn Squadron present the awards annually to recognize Marines who have exemplified themselves through the most significant contribution to, or professional achievement in the field of Marine aviation acquisition during the preceding calendar year.

“There are many Marines just as deserving of this award, but the real ‘trophy’ for all of us is the gratification in acquiring, delivering, and sustaining warfighting capability for our brothers and sisters defending our freedom in harm’s way,” Strange said.


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