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OTC honors FOA team, adds new Hall of Fame member to unit roles

Email   Print   Share By Mary Moses, OTC PAO
November 5, 2009 | News
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Dari and Megan York, the wife and daughter of Douglas York, unveil the Hall of Fame plaque as Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Bobb and OTC commander Col. Don MacWillie look on during a ceremony Friday on West Fort Hood. Courtesy photo
The U.S. Army Operational Test Command honored two groups during an award ceremony Friday. The ceremony recognized the Forward Operational Assessment Team XII and the new Hall of Fame inductee, Douglas W. York.

The Army bronze star medal was awarded to FOA Commander Col. Gregory Brockman, Master Sgt. Kevin Purdy, Lt. Col. Matthew Michaelson, Lt. Col. Thomas Root and Maj. David Scooler for their performance of duties in a combat zone.

The Meritorious Service Medal was awarded to Lt. Col. Stephen Zachar, Maj. Kenneth Burkman, Maj. Chad Harris, Maj. Spencer Kerr, Master Sgt. Federico De Leon, Sgt. 1st Class John Icenhour, Sgt. 1st Class Bruce Love and Staff Sgt. Kevin Gervais.

The Superior Civilian Service award was given to Jeanne Ditter, Manuel Gutierrez and John Goggins. Brockman, Scooler, Kerr and DeLeon also received the Iraqi Campaign medal. Zachar and Michaelson received the Afghanistan Campaign medal, and Ditter, Gutierrez and Goggins also received the Global War on Terrorism medal.

“FOA XII deployed and returned home without fanfare,” OTC Commander Col. Don MacWillie said. “Many of the people here at Fort Hood don’t realize that OTC has supported and deployed these FOA teams. I thank each of you for your sacrifices.”

Since 2003, FOA teams have embedded with units in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait to collect data on critical Army systems. FOA XII returned from a six-month deployment this September, and FOA XIII is currently serving in the Middle East.

Brockman, FOA commander and director of the Aviation Test Directorate (AVTD), discussed the duties of FOA teams.

“We go over there and interview the Soldiers and their leadership about the effectiveness and reliability of the equipment they’re using,” Brockman said. “We interviewed Soldiers about protection gear for Soldiers and vehicles, detection systems for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and recovery systems for Strykers and tanks.”

The FOA XII ceremony was followed by the induction of Douglas York into the OTC Tester’s Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to Army operational testing over a long period of time.

“The inductees are chosen for their ideals of commitment, moral integrity and compassion,” MacWillie said. “Doug was known for his candid but fair assessments and his steadfast commitment to our Soldiers – truth in testing.”

York, the former deputy director of OTC’s Maneuver Test Directorate (MTD), served the U.S. Army during 30 years of enlisted and civil service.

York led several major events during his years in the Army’s testing arena, including the largest operational test in Army history. This 2003 capstone event tested eight variants of the Stryker, and involved 3,000 Soldiers and 750 testers from across the country.

“Doug valiantly fought the ravages of cancer, working until he died on January 25, 2008, at the age of 51, way too young,” MacWillie said. “Doug had integrity. We want to honor him, his memory and his family.”

Dari and Megan York, the inductee’s wife and daughter, unveiled the OTC Tester’s Hall of Fame plaque in York’s honor. The plaque will be hung permanently in the OTC Hall of Fame wing on the first floor of the headquarters building. York is the thirtieth tester to receive this honor.
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