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AL ASAD, Iraq ? Captain Tony Dill, aircraft maintenance officer assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26, was selected as the recipient of the 2005 Marine Corps Aviation Association?s Earl Hattaway Marine Aviation Ground Officer of the Year Award. Dill, a 1984 graduate of Liberty High School in his native Bedford, Va., enlisted in the Marine Corps that year and moved up the ranks to where he is today.

Photo by SGT. JUAN VARA

Patriots’ own selected as Marine Aviation Ground Officer of the Year

19 Jul 2005 | Sgt. Juan Vara

The Patriots of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26 are celebrating another success story as their aircraft maintenance officer was selected as the recipient of the 2005 Marine Corps Aviation Association’s Earl Hattaway Marine Aviation Ground Officer of the Year Award.

Captain Tony Dill, from Bedford, Va., was nominated earlier this year for the award because of his innovative and unprecedented leadership and was announced the winner July 18.

According to Lt. Col. Carmine J. Borrelli, MALS-26 commanding officer, Dill’s expertise has enabled the unit to provide Marine Aircraft Group 26 sustained high aircraft readiness for employment in the Global War on Terrorism in the midst of a recurring high operational tempo.

Borrelli, from Yonkers, N.Y., said Dill’s style of leadership, technical knowledge and attention to detail have developed the maintenance effort in the squadron toward the highest standards of aircraft configuration control and suitability.

“Captain Dill has gone beyond the scope of accepted maintenance practice, implementing leading processes such as Lean Manufacturing and Theory of Constraints, which contribute directly to exceptionally high combat readiness,” said Borrelli.  “I am extremely pleased to see Captain Dill win this award.”

Dill, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1984 and moved up the ranks to where he is today, remains humble and said the credit to this achievement goes to everyone who works or has worked around him.

“A lot of Marines around me and those who’ve come before me are the ones who deserve the credit,” said Dill.  “It started with the mentoring and training from others who used to be my bosses and passed on to me the knowledge to be able to sit in this position today.  I’ve been fortunate over the years to have had great leaders and great Marines to work with.”

According to Dill, every Marine in the squadron has done a remarkable job creating noteworthy improvements throughout the squadron and MAG-26, and that makes his job easier.

“Our readiness speaks for itself,” he said.  “We have goals we try to achieve and every Marine in the squadron understands that the contribution they make on a daily basis means readiness for the squadrons on the flightline.  The squadrons see that we bend over backwards to listen and understand what they need and we, as their logistics support element, obtain those items they require to ultimately support the warfighters on the ground.

“The Marines in our squadron understand that, they believe in it and they practice it.  Each day brings them different challenges and they’re succeeding.  They’ve done a remarkable job and I’d say there’s no better group of Marines that I could work around.  They’re all exceptionally talented and professional.”

Colonel Thomas M. Murray, MAG-26 commanding officer and St. Paul, Minn., native, said Dill’s intelligent, forward-thinking approach to aviation logistics is distinctly exceptional and continues to make a long lasting impact on the combat readiness of the group.

“He is eminently qualified and well deserving of this prestigious award,” said Murray.

The Marine Corps Aviation Association’s Marine Aviation Ground Officer of the Year Award was established in 1972 in honor of Lt. Col. Earle Hattaway, its first recipient.  It is sponsored by Rolls-Royce in recognition of the most outstanding contribution to Marine aviation, whether in combat, research and development, weapons employment or to overall Marine aviation.


- For more information about the Marines reported on in this story, please contact Sgt. Juan Vara by e-mail at varaj@acemnf-wiraq.usmc.mil -
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