"It’s about the warfighter, it’s about how we support them, and today’s winners embody that spirit," NAVAIR Commander Vice Adm. Dean Peters tells employees at the twentieth annual NAVAIR Commander's Award ceremony in Patuxent River March 10. The awards recognized the teams and individuals across NAVAIR who best exemplified improving speed and readiness. (U.S. Navy photo) 

Twentieth annual Commander’s Awards celebrate teams, teamwork

NAVAIR Commander Vice Adm. Dean Peters recognized the teams and individuals who best exemplified improving speed and readiness at the twentieth annual NAVAIR Commander’s Award ceremony here March 10.

Finalists were selected from 71 teams and individuals from across the command. During the ceremony, awardees were also recognized for a small business advocacy award and for the Association of Naval Aviation Edward H. Heinemann Award.

“Ultimately, this is about the warfighter,” Peters said. “It’s about the pilot that advances the throttle to get the engine to respond, checking the navigation system, sending targeting information and arming the weapons circuit. It’s about the maintainer on the flight deck that’s battling the wind and the sea states in order to complete their inspections and turn the aircraft around and get the aircraft launched and recovered and then, later, to do all the scheduled maintenance and unscheduled maintenance that’s necessary. In other words, it’s really not about us. It’s about them. It’s about the warfighter, it’s about how we support them, and today’s winners embody that spirit.”

Below are the winners for each award category:       

Most Impactful Supervisor: Holli Galletti, Patuxent River

Galletti developed and championed innovative ideas effectively to improve and streamline processes and create an environment that fostered innovation, experimentation, efficiency and speed. She also embodied a consistent model for problem solving and innovation by challenging the status quo proactively with solution-oriented, fresh perspectives that improved mission outcomes.

Best Performing Fleet Readiness Center Shop: FRC Southeast F414 Engine Production Team, Jacksonville, Florida  

This team’s rapid response to an increase in the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) Engine Readiness Goals was directly responsible for the sustainment of the F/A-18 E/F's mission capable Super Hornets throughout 2019. The team has historically produced approximately 143 F414 engine modules per month, which equates to a fleet engine build of 47 engines per month. The magnitude of the team's contribution is measured in the ability of the NAE to meet the goal of 341 mission capable Super Hornets by Oct. 1, 2019.

Platform Team with Highest Readiness: RQ-21A Blackjack Team, Patuxent River

This team has exceeded the Chief of Naval Operations’ readiness goals by maintaining mission capability and full mission capability over the past 12 months at rates of 78.6% and 67.3%, respectively. Within the past several months, the mission capable readiness rates exceeded 85%. This achievement was due in part to the Blackjack team’s coordination and communication within the program, including logistics, engineering, training, configuration management and overall integrated product team collaboration. The program also maintained good communications with the fleet, ensuring they had the proper training, resources and reach-back to the program office.

Best Improvement in Readiness: F/A-18 E/F and EA-18G Program Office, Patuxent River

This program office redefined its readiness landscape successfully, exceeding the 80% mission capable requirement for all three of its platforms, making exceptional contributions to naval aviation’s warfighting readiness and leading change across the enterprise. The team stepped up to lead readiness recovery — a challenge most deemed impossible. The team set clearly defined goals for each platform based on needed warfighting capability “to fight tonight.”

Highest Impact Reduction in Business Transactions: Command Re-Utilization and Disposal Team, China Lake, California

This team demonstrated extraordinary commitment by removing 51,868 items, worth $158 million, from asset accounting books in 2019 and sending 608,825 pounds of scrap for recycling. In addition, the project team Reuse Center has repurposed more than 4,600 items worth in excess of $3.8 million, saving the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division millions in procuring new materials.

Best Improvement in Procurement Cycle-Time: F/A-18 and EA-18G Program Office Super Hornet Multiyear Procurement IV Team, Patuxent River

This team responded to the call to continually drive down cost and maximize efficiency in government procurement. In an outstanding effort to support continued production of the Navy’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet strike fighter, the NAVAIR Procurement Group and Cost Dept. developed a radical contracting approach to award a fixed-price incentive firm multi-year procurement contract, saving significant time and cost. The contract generated a minimum savings of $395 million, when compared to the Navy’s original single-year cost estimates.

Most Significant Expansion and Transition in Technical Development: Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile Team, Patuxent River

This team demonstrated a significant expansion and transition in technical development by achieving early operational capability on the Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft 11 months ahead of threshold schedule, filling a warfighting capability gap and addressing urgent warfighting requirements.

Most Innovative Use of Technology for Warfighter Benefit: Counter-Unmanned System Team, Patuxent River

This team, part of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s Cyber Warfare Dept. Cyber Solutions Division, provides overall program management of all product support elements for Counter-Unmanned Air, Surface and Undersea Systems (C-UxS), including manpower, training, readiness and sustainment in support of currently fielded and planned systems. The team planned, developed, tested and delivered a completely new cyber small unmanned aircraft systems detection and defeat capability in less than four weeks, enabling successful support to Fleet Week protection operations in Baltimore, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

Most Collaborative IPT Lead: Fillip Behrman, Patuxent River

Behrman’s efforts capped a 29-month effort to replace the legacy MH-60S gunner seat, which had a detrimental effect on aircrew long-term health and was directly responsible for medical grounding, degraded mission performance and a growing number of chronic spinal/thoracic injuries among aircrew. Behrman took the "Speed to the Fleet" mantra to heart, pushing the Gunner Seat Team to consider new techniques and processes and to be less risk averse during the design and building of the MH-60S gunner seat prototypes.

Edward H. Heinemann Award for Outstanding Achievement: CH-53K Engine Integration Tiger Team, Patuxent River  

This award is presented annually to an individual or group of individuals within NAVAIR who achieved or helped achieve significant improvement in the design or modification of an aircraft or an aircraft system.

The CH-53K Engine Integration Tiger Team mitigated engine exhaust gas reingestion issues on the CH53K King Stallion. Exhaust issues are a common challenge for three-engine helicopters, including the CH-53E Super Stallion. The program office was determined to prevent similar issues on the CH-53K from becoming a burden on the fleet. The team used computational modeling methods, flight test data and systems engineering tools to identify the root cause and design modifications that will eliminate reingestion issues.

Small Business Advocacy Award: Simplified Acquisition Procedures Team, China Lake

This award recognizes the team that promotes, practices and upholds the principles of NAVAIR’s Small Business Program.

The Simplified Acquisition Procedures Team was instrumental in NAWCWD, achieving a record year for small business programs. The team’s fiscal year 2019 small business obligations were 50.4% above the previous fiscal year’s small business obligations. Their outreach to requirement owners (including a roadshow and training) increased their credibility and trust, resulting in improved small business results and a culture shift. The team expended many hours and supported much of NAWCWD’s urgent earthquake recovery acquisitions (which continue to this day). Although not required, the team completed the urgent earthquake recovery requirements, obtaining competition and awarding 89% of the dollars to small businesses.

The FA-18 E/F and EA-18G Program Office, winners of the Best Improvement in Readiness Award (U.S. Navy photo)

The Counter-Unmanned System Team, winners of the Most Innovative Use of Technology for Warfighter Benefit Award (U.S. Navy photo)

Fillip Behrman, center, winner of the Most Collaborative IPT Lead Award (U.S. Navy photo)

The Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) Southeast F414 Engine Production Team, winners of the Best Performing FRC Shop Award (U.S. Navy photo)

The F/A-18 and EA-18G Program Office Super Hornet Multiyear Procurement IV Team, winners of the Best Improvement in Procurement Cycle-Time Award (U.S. Navy photo)

The Simplified Acquisition Procedures Team, winners of the Small Business Advocacy Award (U.S. Navy photo)

The RQ-21A Blackjack Team, winners of the Platform Team with Highest Readiness Award (U.S. Navy photo)

Michele Maples, left, team lead for the Command Re-Utilization and Disposal Team, winners of the Highest Impact Reduction in Business Transactions Award (U.S. Navy photo)

Holli Galletti, right, winner of the Most Impactful Supervisor Award (U.S. Navy photo)

The CH-53K Engine Integration Tiger Team, winners of the Edward H. Heinemann Award (U.S. Navy photo)

The Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile Team, winners of the Most Significant Expansion and Transition in Technical Development Award (U.S. Navy photo)

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