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NEWS | Dec. 28, 2022

CCAD hosts 17th Luther G. Jones Army Aviation Depot Forum

By Della Adame Corpus Christi Army Depot

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Army Aviation Association of America hosted the 17th Luther G. Jones Army Aviation Depot Forum at the Solomon P. Ortiz International Center Dec. 6-7. This year’s theme was "Keep the Army Flying – Come and See How!”


Corpus Christi Army Depot Commander Col. Kyle Hogan’s opening remarks touched on the importance of networking and emphasized the significance of relationships that are developed among the very best in Army aviation.

Corpus Christi Mayor, Paulette Guajardo, welcomed attendees and affirmed her support of the military in South Texas. She announced the city had been named a World War II Heritage City by the National Park Service. The designation is a product of the contributions from the strong military community that started in Corpus Christi shortly before the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.

She acknowledged the depot as one of the largest employers in the Corpus Christi area with an economic impact of $1.7 billion to the local community. Guajardo noted the city of Corpus Christi has partnered with the state of Texas for more than $12 million in infrastructure improvements and encroachment protection projects that help to protect the military installation.

In a prerecorded video message, Rep. Michael Cloud, Texas 27th Congressional District, spoke to the group, stating his continued support of the depot to maintain military readiness through the modernization efforts.  

Maj. Gen. Thomas O’Connor, Jr., U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command commanding general, delivered the keynote address and began by thanking Guajardo for the continued support of the community, the forum and making CCAD America’s team.

“The depot matters and has to win to enable the U.S. Army to maintain readiness,” O’Connor said while emphasizing the importance of the depot.

He addressed the depot’s civilian work force directly. “The great employees of CCAD, thank you for what you do for our team. Every engine or component that is replaced or maintained affects our readiness.  You enable us to maintain our readiness during multiple combat tours. There was never a doubt in my mind about the quality of the repairs that come out of CCAD.”

O’Connor also noted, “The Army is taking on the largest modernization effort in decades. Our depots are what makes our Nation sustain our abilities.”

Marion Whicker, Army Materiel Command Executive Deputy to the Commanding General, gave a virtual update on modernization efforts amounting to $200 million for military projects, supply-chain optimization, and public-private partnerships across the Organic Industrial Base. She spoke about how facility modernization efforts will be adaptable to meet Future Vertical Lift programs.


Attendees received updates on CCAD's current and future workforce, modernization efforts and readiness plans. One highlight during the forum was the opportunity for industry partners, potential partners, and elements of the military to gather and discuss the technological advancements of each organization.

CCAD Sgt. Maj. Jon L. Trawick, led a panel discussion on overcoming gaps in military occupational specialties, knowledge proficiency. When asked about overarching challenges, panel members agreed that equipment and retention are common themes. To combat the retention challenge, a greater emphasis is being placed on mentoring servicemembers.

The industry support panel was moderated by CCAD Deputy and Chief Operations Officer, Roderick ‘Rod’ Benson. The group focused on opportunities for the growth of public-private partnerships to benefit both entities by breaking down barriers, reducing lead times and sharing best practices.

“At the end of the day, we must make sure the things we've learned here endure, so we can stabilize the supply chain for consistent material delivery from the factory to the fighting force,” said Benson.


The second day of the forum began with a panel discussion on the Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group/CCAD partnership. CCAD’s National Guard Liaison Officer, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Raymond Wagner, sat on the panel to provide input and answer questions from the attendees.

In an insightful session that delved below the layers of Army information technology, Andrew Saenz, chief of CCAD’s Cyber Security Division, led a special panel focused on the OIB modernization efforts from a cyber-security perspective with representatives from various industries who specialize in cybersecurity.

He lauded the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s reporting systems. “They have been integral in helping find funding to continue to find the tools needed to modernize CCAD’s industrial control networks and systems. We work with them in our cybersecurity division, with our counterparts to find funding and sharing industry best practices.”


In a historic moment, two CCAD artisans were awarded co-winners of the AAAA Donald F. Luce Depot Maintenance Artisan of the Year: Rogelio Gallegos and Marcus Muniz.

This national award is presented to artisans who have made an outstanding individual contribution to Army Aviation in depot maintenance during the award period commencing July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022.

Gallegos, a driving force for process improvements in his area stepped up to fill in for a supervisor in the T-700 Engine Compressor/Rotor Shop. During that time, he was able to reduce process time on compressors significantly and drove his shop’s quality defect rate to the best in the directorate. He improved his fellow mechanics’ logistical understanding of the depot’s enterprise resource-planning system, created lesson plans, and provided real-world training to the artisans.

Muniz developed an aircraft-specific training program applicable to all Army painters. Past paint simulators could only provide a two-dimensional evaluation; the new three-dimensional simulator provides a realistic feel of depth and contour and tailored the training more specifically to rotary-wing needs.


Hogan closed out the forum with an OIB video that highlighted the modernization theme nested in panel topics and breakout sessions.

Hogan encouraged participants to leverage connections and networks that were established and reestablished during the forum and thanked all for attending before showcasing the depot’s “I Am CCAD” video. The video is a compilation of depot employees the initiative, accountability, motivation, capability, commitment, adaptability, and dedication of the civilian workforce.

The forum was named after former CCAD commander and Corpus Christi mayor, Col. Luther Griffin Jones Jr., who served in the U.S. Army from 1939 to 1945 and again from 1958 to 1973. He then served as mayor of Corpus Christi from 1979 to 1987.

The 2023 Luther G. Jones Forum is scheduled for early December in Corpus Christi, Texas.