NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Aviation Common Systems and Commercial Services (PEO(CS)), Mr. Gary M. Kurtz, presented the DoD Distinguished Civilian Service Award to Edward A. “Andy” Wilkinson, principal deputy program manager for the Specialized and Proven Aircraft program office (PMA-226) at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. on 3 Feb.
The DoD Distinguished Civilian Service Award is DoD’s highest award given to career DoD civilian employees whose careers reflect exceptional devotion to duty and whose contributions at the highest level achieve efficiency, economy, or other improvements in DoD operations at a significantly broad scope.
“Throughout his career, Andy has been the principal force behind creative, innovative, and revolutionary approaches to ensure cost-wise warfighter readiness and ensuring advancements in technology, capability and capacity are being provided to our fleet customers” said Capt. Ramiro Flores, PMA-226 program manager.
The selection committee cited Wilkinson’s accomplishments, work ethic, dedication to innovation and revolutionary solutions to establish a more efficient, effective, relevant and fiscally-responsible Department of Defense as reasons for his selection for the DoD Distinguished Civilian Service Award.
When asked about the secret to his success, Wilkinson said, “I’m blessed to work with extremely capable and passionate teammates and have spent much of my career directly supporting the fleet, which provides a strong sense of purpose and motivation”.
One of NAVAIR’s strategic imperatives is to provide our warfighters what they need to succeed not only today, but also tomorrow and in the future. Looking to the future, Wilkinson said, “My son recently graduated from Navy Officer Candidate School and that really brings the criticality of our mission to rapidly provide affordable capability and services to sailors and Marines close to home”.
Wilkinson’s civilian service spans more than 36 years, and includes decades of supporting the CH-46E helicopter, followed by supporting a smooth transition of US Marine Corps medium lift/assault capabilities to the MV-22.
Under his leadership at the PMA-226 program office, the PMA-226 portfolio broadened to include 18 different type model series aircraft including the Navy’s Adversary aircraft which provide advanced Air Combat training, and exponential growth in Contracted Air Services such as aerial refueling and electronic warfare.
He played a major role in the development and execution of the Navy’s adversary aircraft recapitalization plan, which expands F-5 and F-16 adversary aircraft capacity through an innovative acquisition strategy including repatriating low time F-5s from Switzerland and transitioning F-16s from the U.S. Air Force Air National Guard. While affordably addressing significant aircraft inventory shortfalls, the program also delivers substantial capability upgrades enhancing the adversary fleet’s ability to represent the near peer threat which better prepares naval aviators for battle.
“Andy has devoted his career to supporting our nation’s defense. His achievements have ensured that our forces are always ready to deter threats or support global humanitarian efforts. Andy’s dedication and devotion to his duties embodies everything that this award was established to recognize,” said Gary Kurtz, program executive officer, Aviation Common Systems and Commercial Services (PEO(CS)).
About the Specialized and Proven Aircraft program office (PMA-226)
PMA-226 is responsible for life cycle cradle to grave management of several legacy and out of inventory aircraft and engines, assigned by NAVAIR and contracted air services. Assigned platforms and services include: Adversary Aircraft (F-5, F-16); Contracted Aircraft Services; US Naval Test Pilot School / Naval Postgraduate School T-38, H-72, X-26, U-6, NU-1B, O-2, OH-58C; and out of active Navy inventory aircraft T-2, H-2, H-3, A-4, in support of the Naval Aviation Enterprise and our international partners.