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Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards Announced

The Department of Defense (DOD) announced the 2018 winners of the Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards. These awards are presented annually to recognize outstanding achievements in weapon systems and military equipment maintenance.

The depot-level award is named in recognition of Robert T. Mason, a former assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for maintenance policy, programs, and resources.  Mason served as the champion of organic depot maintenance for three decades and was instrumental in transforming DOD organic depot-level operations. The recipient of the 2018 Robert T. Mason Depot Maintenance Excellence Award is the Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Maintenance and Emergent Repairs, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.  Among many significant accomplishments, this team produced the first early delivery since 2009 of an organic in-yard nuclear aircraft carrier availability and provided a significant carrier maintenance cost avoidance of $8.136M.

A total of six field-level awards are presented in three categories - large, medium, and small. The recipients of this year's Secretary of Defense Field-level Maintenance Awards in the large category are the 1st Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force and the 48th Maintenance Group. Winners in the medium category are the Headquarters and Headquarter Company, 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Oceana. The small category winners are Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWELVE and 31st Munitions Squadron.  

The Secretary of Defense Field-level Maintenance Awards are symbolized by the legendary Phoenix, a mythological bird which lived for some five centuries, died, was consumed by flames, and then reborn from its own ashes. Periodically, so states the myth, the Phoenix would again and again be reborn. This unique ability of the legendary Phoenix to rejuvenate and renew itself characterizes the role of weapon systems and maintenance in the DOD. The winner of the Phoenix Award, recognized as the best of the best field-level maintenance units, will be selected from the six field-level award winners.

The department also recognized excellence in maintenance training, advice, and assistance of foreign security forces. This year’s operational category winner is Caribbean Basin Security Initiative Technical Assistance Field Team, United States Southern Command.   The awards will be presented to the winners on December 18, 2018, in the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, Florida at an awards ceremony as part of the 2018 DOD Maintenance Symposium. Continually updated Maintenance Symposium information is available at