NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The United States Marine Corps (USMC) Light/Attack Helicopter Program (PMA-276) was honored with two prestigious awards at the 2022 Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Commander’s Awards ceremony held on May 31. The program’s exceptional performance was recognized in the categories of ‘Speed of Capability Delivery’ and ‘Workforce Development.’

Vice Adm. Carl Chebi, commander of NAVAIR, commended the teams during his speech at the ceremony, stating, “Each of you, and your teammates, are living NAVAIR’s core values: you start with the fleet; you change the game; you win with inclusion and respect. As a result, the NAVAIR team is delivering game-changing capability to the fleet.”

PMA-276’s Sharon Shaw accepts the 2022 NAVAIR Commander’s Award in the ‘Workforce Development’ category from Vice Adm. Carl Chebi, commander, NAVAIR, on behalf of the Light Attack Academy team. Credit: U.S. Navy

PMA-276’s Communications/Navigation team received the Speed of Capability Delivery award for rapidly delivering Beyond the Line-of-Sight (BLOS) communication upgrades on the UH-1Y Venom helicopter. The team successfully integrated the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) capability, a communications satellite system that provides global connectivity to military networks, onto a UH-1Y in just two months. This achievement was years ahead of schedule and accomplished within the constraints of available funding.

The Workforce Development Award was presented to PMA-276’s Light Attack Academy (LAA) team for their implementation of a comprehensive educational training program. The LAA program offers an internal course to program newcomers to improve workforce skills, workload management, productivity, and morale. It consists of 12 program management-based modules taught by subject matter experts (SME) from the PMA, covering acquisition processes, best practices, and project management tools specific to PMA-276.

PMA-276’s Brian Evans accepts the 2022 NAVAIR Commander’s Award in the ‘Speed of Capability Delivery’ category from Vice Adm. Carl Chebi, commander, NAVAIR, on behalf of the Communications/Navigation team. Credit: U.S. Navy

In addition to the modules, the LAA program provides leadership training and a mentoring panel to enhance the value of the course. The curriculum aligns with NAVAIR goals and processes and aims to improve project leads’ knowledge and leadership skills. The program has been highly successful, with 35 students completing it within three cohorts. The positive reception from graduates has led to its adoption by several other program offices across NAVAIR.

Heather Wicks, a graduate of the LAA program, expressed her appreciation, saying, “As someone new to project management, LAA provided a foundation with useful tools and resources to manage my projects successfully. The academy structure assisted me in establishing a network and community that I engage with regularly to facilitate my day-to-day responsibilities. The program was instrumental to my career development, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to learn from PMA-276’s subject matter experts.”

Colonel Vasilios Pappas, the program manager for PMA-276, expressed his pride in the team’s achievements, stating, “I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication the team members of PMA-276 have demonstrated to enhance operations internally and for the fleet. Both teams deserve the recognition and honor that the 2022 NAVAIR Commander’s Awards reflect. The executive leadership team at PMA-276 and I are truly grateful for this workforce; we are privileged to work with such professionals daily.”

The accomplishments of PMA-276’s Communications/Navigation team and Light Attack Academy team highlight the program’s commitment to delivering cutting-edge capabilities to the fleet while fostering professional development and skill enhancement among its workforce. These awards testify to the team’s dedication and vital contributions to the USMC Light/Attack Helicopter Program.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply