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Brig. Gen. A.J. Pasagian, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, speaks to the crowd during the 2018 Acquisition Excellence Awards, hosted by Marine Corps Systems Command Aug. 29, aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. MCSC holds the event annually to recognize members of the Marine Corps acquisition workforce for outstanding performance during the previous fiscal year. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Ed Shank)

Photo by Ed Shank

Marine Corps acquisition workforce recognized for professional excellence in 2017

31 Aug 2018 | Kaitlin Kelly, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication Marine Corps Systems Command

Marine Corps acquisition leaders gathered to recognize the outstanding performance of Marine Corps acquisition professionals and teams Aug. 29, aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. 

Lt. Gen. Michael G. Dana, director of the Marine Corps Staff, was the keynote speaker for the awards ceremony.

“Your command does the wonderful job of saving lives, and we have to continue to move faster in providing capabilities to the warfighter,” said Dana. “My charge to you is to never quit, always have a vision and take action.”

Brig. Gen. A.J. Pasagian, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, hosted the annual awards ceremony.

He thanked the entire workforce for their teamwork in equipping Marines over the past year.

“We recognize these award recipients for providing gear to prepare Marines for austere environments,” said Pasagian. “As a command, we need to keep ourselves sharp and think about how far we’ve come and what we will need to accomplish in the future.”

The first honorees received the Andrew J. Higgins, Eugene M. Stoner and Donald Roebling Awards, respectively. Higgins, Stoner and Roebling were responsible for the design, development, production and sustainment of three critical items of warfighting equipment that have had an enduring impact on the Corps. The Higgins Boat carried the allies to victory in WWII. The M16 Rifle, designed by Eugene M. Stoner, has been carried by Marines from Vietnam to present-day conflicts. For more than 50 years, the Amphibious Tractor, developed by Donald Roebling, paved the way for modern amphibious force operations.

The Higgins, Stoner and Roebling awards recognize superior professional excellence and innovation in pursuit of the acquisition, fielding and support of systems and equipment to the operating forces. Other individual and team awards spotlighted those who excelled in acquisition or acquisition-related functions for a myriad of Marine Corps systems and equipment.

The Andrew J. Higgins Award—presented to a Marine Corps officer—was awarded to Capt. Anthony Molnar. Molnar was recognized for his superior leadership and technical acumen while serving as the MK-154 and MK-155 project officer in Portfolio Manager Logistics Combat Element Systems. He led the re-design of the MK-154 Modification 1 system, and the production and procurement of 51 MK-154 electrical systems and 26 hydraulic systems. This restored a minefield clearance capability that had been absent from the Corps for over four years.

The Eugene M. Stoner Award—presented to a staff noncommissioned officer—was awarded to Master Sgt. Zackary Hefty for his superior initiative and technical expertise in response to urgent demands associated with Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1 developmental testing. Hefty responded to unforeseen demands for test equipment, surges in test personnel and execution delays driven by vendor test article delivery. His efforts yielded cost and time savings for the government on this high-visibility acquisition program.

The Donald Roebling Award—presented to a Marine Corps civilian—was awarded to Nicholas Pierce. As Individual Armor team lead within Ground Combat Element Systems, the team achieved full-rate production on the Enhanced Combat Helmet and expeditiously fielded the reinforced pack frame. Additionally, he enabled the convening of a source selection board for the Plate Carrier Generation III contract one year ahead of schedule. His efforts enabled a lighter-weight, lower-cost helmet than expected; a pack frame that could withstand prolonged exposure to cold weather; and redesigned body armor to meet a new requirement to fit a wider range of Marines.

Other award recipients received the Commander’s Annual Honorary Awards for accomplishments in 2017. The following awards recognized individuals and teams who made significant contributions to MCSC’s mission accomplishment:

Commander’s Honorary Award for Excellence in Acquisition Support: Alan Matthews, test manager for Program Manager Infantry Weapons at Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane.

Commander’s Honorary Award for Excellence in Command Support: Robert Perry, equipment specialist for PM IW, Ordnance Test Facility, individual; Contributions Based Compensation and Appraisal System Team.

Commander’s Honorary Award for Excellence in Contract Management: Kathryn Hurd, contract specialist for Program Manager Infantry Combat Equipment, individual; Next Generation Enterprise Network Contracts Team.

Commander’s Honorary Award for Excellence in Financial Management: Ayana Benjamin, financial manager for the Optics Team in Ground Combat Equipment Systems, individual; Ground Based Air Defense Finance Team.

Commander’s Honorary Award for Excellence in Logistics and Product Support: John Estep, Logistics Management specialist for Logistics Combat Element Systems, individual; PM IW Albany Life-Cycle Logistics Team.

Commander’s Honorary Award for Excellence in Marine-Air-Ground Task Force Engineering: Jeffery Forbes, Information Systems Security manager for Program Manager Ground Based Air Defense – Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar, individual; Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1 Engineering Team.

Commander’s Honorary Award for Excellence in Operations Research and Systems Analysis: Launa Trotta, Operations Research analyst for the Studies and Analysis Branch in Operations and Programs, individual; GBAD/GATOR Cost Analysis Team.

Commander’s Honorary Award for Excellence in Program Management: Capt. Frank “Brad” Allen project officer for Ground Tactical Communication Automatic Test Systems and Fleet Support Team Lead, individual; Mobility/Counter Mobility Team.

Commander’s Honorary Award for Innovation: Luis Velazquez, branch Head, Future Capabilities and Innovation, individual; Island Marauder Team.


Champion of Veteran Enterprise Award: MCSC Office of Small Business Programs.

Lawrence P. Kreitzer Leadership Award: Edgar Howell III, program manager for Supply and Maintenance Systems.

Col. Richard ‘Dick’ Bates Award: Kimberly Yarboro, Deputy Program Manager for Training Systems.

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