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Letterkenny Army Depot has Direct Impact on PATRIOT GTA Requirement

May 14, 2012

By LTC Eric S. Burkholder, Letterkenny Maintenance Operations Officer , Ms. Lindsay Bryant, Letterkenny Public Affairs Specialist

Chambersburg, Pa. - Letterkenny Army Depot's (LEAD) Major Item Division, under the Directorate of Industrial Operations, successfully completed the maintenance and fielding of the final Phased Array Tracking Radar Intercept On Target (PATRIOT), Grow the Army (GTA), 1-62 Air Defense Artillery Battalion (ADA BN) sell-back at Fort Hood, Texas.

The 1-62 ADA, commanded by Lt. Col. Aaron Roth, is the fifteenth BN of the PATRIOT GTA. The same division at LEAD also fielded the fourteenth BN (4-3 ADA) in early 2011 at Ft. Sill, Okla. The fieldings were jointly executed between LEAD and Lower Tier Project Office (LTPO). LEAD Systems Integration and Checkout (SICO) team members and LTPO representatives demonstrated and repaired the PATRIOT equipment at the fielding site.

The 1-62 ADA unit liaison for LEAD and LTPO, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3, Greg Young, was pleased with results.

"The professionalism, dedication to mission accomplishment and tenacious work ethic of the Letterkenny Army Depot DA [Department of the Army] civilians was paramount to the success of the 1-62 ADA BN new equipment fielding," Young said. "Without their support and expertise, this fielding would not have been possible."

LEAD and LTPO have been integral components to the PATRIOT GTA mission, beginning when the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) authorized the GTA from 13 to 15 PATRIOT Battalions.

The GTA strategy was to reorganize how the BNs were aligned, such as reducing launchers from eight to six per firing battery and reducing communication relay groups from four to three per BN. In addition to the reorganization of the PATRIOT structural composition, assets from the PATRIOT school house, White Sands Missile Range and excess recap as well as unit floats were repaired and integrated into the GTA LEAD Recapitalization (Recap) program.

Ultimately, the PATRIOT GTA was in response to tactical battlefield requirements based on actual Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) and the need for a larger footprint for the PATRIOT Air Defense capability.

In 2005, the ADA community, LTPO Logistics Division Chief, John 'Jack' Yurko and LEAD management made production plans within the PATRIOT Recap program to support the GTA process. Based on the required end-date and end-state of 15 BNs by 2012, LEAD and LTPO scheduled inductions into Recap accordingly. The planning included purchasing Configuration-3 kits, increasing quantities of hard-to-get PATRIOT components through strict management of the Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) contract and creating a seven year induction plan of equipment into the LEAD Recap schedule.

The only feasible way to implement the CSA GTA plan for the ADA community was to rely on the PATRIOT Recap program at LEAD. Starting in 2008, the recap schedule was accelerated from producing one BN set of radars to two BN sets of radars per year to meet this requirement.

In addition to expanding the footprint of ADA and maintaining the longevity of the fleet through depot maintenance, the two new BNs have been upgraded and modernized with Configuration-3 kits. The Configuration-3 kit upgrades ensure that units have the latest technology to meet and defeat the evolving threats.

Working plans around the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) cycle, facing the constant constraint for the availability of assets as well as mitigating part shortages were overcome by diligent efforts by LEAD and LTPO employees, with primary focus on always meeting the unit's fielding schedule. Yurko said that recapitalization is the greatest activity that could have happened to PATRIOT and it takes a team effort to make a program of this size a success.

The recap process and the PATRIOT GTA required immense coordination efforts. Each recap BN SICO has an approximate rate of 30-45 days per fire unit and Headquarters (HQ) Battery; consequently, LEAD and LTPO have civilians on the ground for five to six months at various locations around the world for each BN fielded. For the 1-62 ADA SICO event, Tom Gahagan was the LEAD team leader from August through December 2011 and Mike Vasko was team leader from January through March 2012.

"In front of every successful team there is a great leader," Young said. "When our fielding was crippled with the M860 Trailer Torque Rod issue, Vasko and his team put in long hard hours once the serviceable assets were available, in order to get the BN moving again."

Each team was comprised of five to six specialists in accordance with each team member's specific PATRIOT end-item expertise. LEAD employees that composed the SICO teams at this fielding were Gary Frank, George Thomas, Nate Graybill, Tim Cook, Curtis Hodge, Zach Rodgers, Darwin Goshorn, Nate Nichols, Tom Seibert, Kat Ondeck and Nate Nichols. LTPO civilians included SICO Team Chief in charge of the deployment operation, Bob Adkins, who coordinated daily with the Warfighters at Ft. Hood and Jody Hodson, who oversees the daily coordination of the PATRIOT Recap program at Letterkenny.

"As with every large undertaking such as a Battalion fielding, there are going to be roadblocks and hurdles, and when such unplanned events occurred, the team from LEAD went above and beyond to take care of the needs and desires of the Battalion," said Young.

All of these individuals and many other civilians at the Depot and LTPO are responsible for the continual success of the PATRIOT Recap program over the decades. Commanding General for U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command, Maj. Gen. James E. Rogers, gave his approval on the successful completion of the PATRIOT Grow the Army (GTA) and recognized the great job by LEAD and Depot Commander, Col. Cheri Provancha.

The CSA's vision of PATROT GTA was realized by the tireless efforts made by the maintenance and logistics employees throughout LTPO and LEAD's workforce. This SICO event is a proof-positive example of DA Civilians and Soldiers interfacing together to meet the common goal of PATRIOT GTA. People first, mission always.

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