MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
A product manager from Program Executive Officer Land Systems was recognized by the National Defense Industrial Association during an award ceremony at the NDIA Tactical Wheeled Vehicles Conference Feb. 4, in Monterey, California.
Eugene Morin, product manager for Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, was recognized with NDIA’s 2018 Red Ball Express Award for his contributions to PEO Land Systems and the tactical wheeled vehicle community. At the time of his nomination, Morin served as product manager for the Legacy Light Program, and oversaw the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, Utility Task Vehicle and the Internally Transportable Vehicle programs.
“Things that were credited to Gene’s leadership on the HMMWV side include the Equipment Exchange Program, where we have taken assets and resources from over 2,000 HMMWVs and traded them for stock that helps support the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program,” said Andrew Rodgers, program manager for Light Tactical Vehicles at PEO Land Systems. “He also started the ITV Improvement Initiative, which addressed readiness and safety issues with the ITV. With the ITV, we were actually doing great and got the vehicle above 90 percent [operational readiness] for the first time in years until it was cancelled in November 2018.”
According to Rodgers, Morin was also instrumental in securing funding for the UTV via Above Threshold Reprogramming from Congress. The Corps acquired the UTV upon identifying a critical tactical capability gap highlighted during ongoing forward deployed operations associated with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Forces and Marine Expeditionary Units. However, because the UTV program was identified as an emergent, unfunded requirement, funding had to be secured from alternative sources to expedite the procurement of the vehicles.
“The UTV [program] was an end-year new start, where we had to get approval from the commandant, talk to Congress, and even had to work with late Sen. John McCain to get approval for the new start, which provided UTVs for the reconnaissance elements as well as infantry regiments,” said Rodgers.
Rodgers credits Morin’s background—from his time as a Basic Ground Electronics Maintenance Marine through his assignments in Program Manager Intelligence at Marine Corps Systems Command.
“His experience has allowed us to field things with a lot less problems and a lot more mature logistics and C4I capabilities than we would’ve had before without him,” said Rodgers. “We nominated Gene for the Red Ball Express award because of all the things he brings to the PEO, being here at the right time at the right place for the right ACAT I program, and basically taking a multi-billion dollar program and fielding it with a lot less problems than you would traditionally see in other ACAT I programs.”
While serving as product manager of Legacy Fleet Systems, Morin was responsible for the safety and sustainment of approximately 17,000 HMMWVs; sustainment, retrofit and disposal of the Corps’ ITV fleet; development, procurement, fielding and sustainment of the UTV; and sustainment of Light Tactical Trailers.
When faced with declining maintenance and usage rates for the ITV, Morin was instrumental in developing and executing a strategy that ultimately led to the fielding of UTVs to Marine Corps Infantry Battalions worldwide. Morin has also ensured that Marines receiving the UTVs have the training and support they need to keep their vehicles operating in every corner of the globe.
“I am very honored that I was nominated, and that industry was able to recognize one of the Marine Corps’ programs and the efforts that my team and I have accomplished,” said Morin.
The award Morin received is named after the Red Ball Express transportation unit, an enormous truck convoy system created in 1944 to supply Allied forces moving quickly through Europe after breaking out from the D-Day beaches in Normandy. The route and convoy—both marked with red balls—were given priority on roads, enabling Allied forces to deliver and maintain a continuous supply of fuel and ordnance to those on the front line. NDIA bestows the award upon those who have made significant contributions in the development, introduction or support of tactical wheeled vehicles leading to the strengthening of national security.
PEO Land Systems, the Marine Corps’ only PEO, is tasked with the acquisition and sustainment of ground and amphibious vehicles, towed artillery systems, radars, and command and control systems for the Warfighter.