MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
A 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing squadron took home one of the Department of Defense’s highest awards for maintenance performance, Nov. 17. Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 40 received the 2010 Phoenix Award, part of the 2010 Secretary of Defense maintenance awards program, at the DOD’s maintenance symposium and exhibition in Tampa, Fla.
The award recognizes military maintenance groups for their performance. The recipient of the award is selected from the six Secretary of Defense field-level maintenance award winners. The winner is recognized as the best maintenance unit within the DOD.
After activating in 2009, MALS-40 spent a year deployed to Afghanistan, where the squadron provided maintenance support to various types of aircraft, ranging from AV-8B Harriers to MV-22B Ospreys. The squadron, which was part of Marine Aircraft Group 40, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, was less than one-half the size of a normal MALS.
“MALS-40 Marines provided 275 intermediate-level support capabilities for the air combat element,” said Maj. Lowell Schweickart, who served as MALS-40’s operations officer in Afghanistan. “This support enabled the ACE to generate and sustain more than 35,000 combat flight hours. The true beneficiaries of our efforts were the MEB Marines who received quality air support whenever required.”
The unit, comprised of Marines from a dozen separate aviation units throughout the Marine Corps, was deactivated shortly after its return in March. “It was a privilege to serve with the Marines of MALS-40. We all learned a lot and pulled together to accomplish the mission,” said Schweickart. “As we all disperse back to our units throughout the Corps, we will take the lessons that we have learned and pass those along to our fellow Marines. I firmly believe that the Marines of MALS-40 will continue to strive for excellence and will demand the same of those around them.”
Cpl. Ryan C. Politz, a consolidated automatic support system technician with MALS-14, was a part of the effort that went into MALS-40’s noteworthy performance while deployed.
“This is awesome,” said Politz about MALS-40 winning the Phoenix Award. “The award was a great accomplishment and definitely well-deserved.”
Politz is scheduled to return to Afghanistan with 2nd MAW (Forward) in 2011. He will be attached to MALS-40 once again while deployed there.
“I’m definitely excited about working with MALS-40 again,” Politz said. “We’ve got a different command this time, but I still feel it’s going to be that much better.”