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NEWS | April 19, 2021

DON recognizes MCSC employees for Test and Evaluation efforts

By Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication Marine Corps Systems Command

On April 15, Marine Corps Systems Command recognized its Department of the Navy Test and Evaluation Award winners during a socially distanced event held aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.

The T&E Awards recognize individuals and groups that have made significant contributions to advancing the T&E profession. Winners included representatives from MCSC, Program Executive Officer Land Systems and Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity.

“It’s not easy to run an event like this during a pandemic, but it’s important to recognize excellence,” said Brig. Gen. A.J. Pasagian, MCSC’s commander. “It is truly remarkable what you can do when everyone has a common purpose, and the winners today exemplify that with their selflessness, humility and dedication to supporting the warfighter.”

Program Executive Officer Land Systems John Garner talked about the difficulty of providing Marines with needed systems to support their missions. He said the T&E community have hard jobs, and this year’s winners have done their jobs well.

“The Test and Evaluation community is in a difficult position, but these individuals represent what can be accomplished,” said Garner.

Rick Quade, the executive director for Innovation, Technology Requirements and T&E at the Department of Navy, served as the keynote speaker at the event. He profusely thanked the winners and emphasized the importance of everyone in the T&E community.

“For the T&E community, it’s important to understand how [capabilities] perform when they get into the hands of Marines,” said Quade. “We’re giving them something better than what they have.”

PEO Land Systems

The Lead Tester Award recognizes a military or government civilian member of the T&E workforce who has excelled at the planning, management and oversight of T&E activities as a lead tester for an Acquisition Category I/IA or ACAT II program.

Dr. Giang Pham, T&E lead for Program Manager Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar at PEO Land Systems, received the Lead Tester Award.

Pham successfully executed six test events from April to October 2020. These events helped to verify improvements in G/ATOR capabilities, test the boundaries of the system and provide both the Marine Corps and Air Force with critical quantitative data on radar capabilities.

“I am humbled by this honor, which I truly believe is the fruit of a great team effort,” said Pham. “Despite COVID, we completed all planned evaluations that enabled adding current and future capabilities to the G/ATOR, one of the most sophisticated and effective radars not just within the Marine Corps but the Department of Defense.”

The Amphibious Combat Vehicle Integrated T&E Team, also of PEO Land Systems, received the Test Team Award, which recognizes individuals within the workforce who have excelled at the planning, management and oversight of T&E activities as a lead tester for an ACAT I/IA or ACAT II program.

The team meticulously planned and executed critical testing during the Production and Deployment Phase for the ACV program. Their efforts were instrumental in the ACV program’s successful execution of a streamlined acquisition strategy to expedite attainment of ACV capabilities.

Lou Ferguson, Test Planning and Integration head at PEO Land Systems, said the team evaluated and reported T&E results in a timely manner, and supported and fully informed the decision to enter full-rate production.

The team also adhered to challenging program schedule restraints by implementing effective mitigation strategies for COVID-19 to ensure the health and well-being of team members.

“The hard work, patriotism and diligence of the team meant that the assault amphibian community, the ground combat element, and ultimately the Marine Corps received needed, quality equipment in a timely manner to defend our nation in the wars to come,” said Ferguson.

PM TRASYS, MCTSSA

Maj. Richard Zjawin, the infantry integration officer for Program Manager Training Systems, received the Small Program Outstanding Tester Award. This recognition distinguishes a military and government civilian T&E workforce member who provided exceptional T&E execution and support for a small DON program.

Zjawin relentlessly focused on working with members of the test team, the requirements sponsor and operational users to define a test concept to assess a prototype training system called Force-on-Force Training Systems-Next and its effectiveness to proceed into production.

His efforts contributed to the modernization of a Marine Corps’ Force-on-Force capability and played a significant role in delivering a highly effective training capability to enhance combat readiness of the Fleet Marine Force.

“I’m accepting this award on behalf of the entire Force-on-Force team,” said Zjawin. “We spent many days on the road during COVID-19 to test vendor solutions. My hope is that our work will ensure we provide the Fleet Marine Force a good training capability to prepare them for the next mission.”

The DON also recognized Andrew Ferguson, a test engineer for the Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch at MCTSSA, with the Aspiring Tester Award-Civilian Category.

As a test engineer for the AVTB at MCTSSA, Ferguson exhibited dedication in expanding the operational capability of amphibious forces to conduct a full range of military operations. He repeatedly managed complex issues involving developing or modifying weapon system designs.

On countless occasions, Ferguson assisted program managers with test execution, data collection, analysis and recommendations that resulted in product improvements.  His T&E efforts provided the Marine Corps with effective vehicles suited for use in a variety of combat environments.

“I didn’t do things that made changes to be noticed, I did it to make my job and the jobs of my coworkers easier and more efficient,” said Ferguson. “I am happy to receive the award, but it’s just a minor reflection of how lucky I am to work where I do with the people I do.”