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Archive for the ‘USMC’ Category

Maj Gen James F Glynn Takes Command at MARSOC

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Marine Forces Special Operations Command hosted a change of command ceremony today, as the Marine Raiders bid farewell to Maj. Gen. Daniel D. Yoo and welcomed Maj. Gen. James F. Glynn.

Glynn returns to MARSOC to serve as it’s eighth commander, having previously served as the commanding officer of the Marine Raider Training Center from 2011-2013.

“You don’t get too many opportunities to come back to a unit,” said Glynn, “but when you come back, you stand among giants… people of character, people who care, people of concern that transcends the operational mission. It is personal.” Glynn summarized his feelings about taking command in three words. “Pride, at the opportunity to come back to this formation and have the opportunity to stand amongst you. Humility at the opportunity to command in an organization like this. And some would call it a burden of command. It is actually a privilege to have the opportunity to be a part of and to contribute to all the great things that this force and its families do.”

As the MARSOC commander, Glynn will be responsible for manning, training and equipping Marine Raiders for deployments in support of special operations missions across the globe. MARSOC maintains a continuous deployed presence in the areas of operations for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Africa Command.

“We have lots of stuff in the Marine Corps three Divisions, three Wings, three Logistics groups. We have one MARSOC, it is that unique,” said Gen. David H. Berger, 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps and the senior officer presiding over the ceremony. “There is no part of the globe that this command does not operate in,” going on to explain how much the organization provides the service. “We get back so much from MARSOC in the Marine Corps, in equipment, in training…the most that we are going to draw from MARSOC in the next couple of years, is not a technique, it’s not a weapon and it’s not a radio. It is the focus on the individual.”

Also in attendance were Gen. Richard D. Clarke, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, previous commanders of MARSOC, and various dignitaries from the local government, as well as the Marine Corps and interagency.

“When I think of MARSOC, I always think of SOCOM’s Sparta. When you look at this force, it is 2% of our budget from SOCOM, 6% of our manpower, conducting over 10% of SOCOM’s missions globally.It’s a great payback for what we put into it. Much of it is the human capital invested…the great Marines represented out here on the field,” said Clarke.

Yoo departs the command after two years leading the organization. During his time commanding MARSOC, Yoo drove the implementation of MARSOF 2030, the vision document designed to shape and inform the next decade of acquisitions, capability development, and operations for the command. In the same vein, he merged the G-5 Plans Directorate, and the G-8 Requirements Directorate, creating the Combat Development and Integration Directorate to continue expanding MARSOC’s role beyond the traditional battlespace. Yoo directed the establishment of MARSOC’s Cyber Integration Working Group to build the command’s future cyber capability and implemented the annual Cognitive Raider Symposium to increases awareness and critical thinking of key issues facing the Department of Defense and Special Operations Forces.

“As a commander, your time is fast, and as the commandant eluded to, we are the caretaker of the organization and the organization is a reflection of the individuals,” said Yoo. “From the moment you take the colors as a commander, you hope you can move the organization forward and that the things you do will have lasting impacts. It has been a life time of honors to be a part of these different formations, but to conclude with you all here at MARSOC, makes me very, very grateful.”

MARSOC is the Marine Corps service component of U.S. Special Operations Command and was activated Feb. 24, 2006. Its mission is to train, organize, equip and deploy task-organized Marine special operations forces worldwide.

Story by Lance Cpl Christian Ayers, Marine Forces, Special Operations Command

Rocky’s USMC Jungle Boot Now Available at Rockyboots.com

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

NELSONVILLE, Ohio — Rocky Boots, a leading manufacturer of commercial military footwear, is now offering its new United States Marine Corps jungle boots online at rockyboots.com. The tropical weather boot is Berry compliant, GSA approved, made in the U.S.A. and certified for use by the USMC, all while meeting the unique footwear needs of Marines operating in tropical climates.

“Rocky has a proud history of serving members of the U.S. military, and in recent years we have developed a number of specialized footwear styles for specific branches,” said Mark Dean, VP of Rocky’s commercial military division. “The jungle boot was built side-by-side with the Marine Corps to serve those who are deployed to tropical or warm weather locations.”

Designed for rugged performance and durability, the USMC Tropic Weather boot is constructed with flash- and water-resistant, flesh-out leather and 1000 Denier Cordura®. An aggressive Panama Vibram® Cupped outsole delivers unmatched stability and traction while shedding debris and providing shock absorption. The Rocky Air-Port™ footbed with Aegis microbe shield delivers comfort, while a puncture-resistant plate in the midsole provides protection under the foot.

USMC Tropic Weather Boot

Specifications:
• Made in the USA, Berry compliant
• GSA compliant
• Removable Rocky Air-port™ footbed
• Panama Vibram® Cupped Outsole
• Full-grain, flesh out leather with 1000 Denier nylon
• Flash- and water-resistant leather
• Extremely breathable and durable
• Padded collar for added comfort
• Certified with the USMC: April 2019

Available in men’s and women’s sizes 4-13, 14 and 15, the Tropic Weather boot has a suggested retail price of $250.

For more information on the Tropic Weather boots or other Rocky products, visit rockyboots.com.

USMC’s PM Infantry Weapons Undergoing Largest Modernization Effort in Decades

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

Marine Corps Systems Command’s Program Manager for Infantry Weapons has begun a large-scale modernization project to increase the lethality of the infantry squad.

PM IW strives to equip and sustain the Marine Corps with fully-integrated infantry weapons, optics and nonlethal systems for the Ground Combat Element.

The portfolio’s modernization efforts adhere to Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger’s vision to redesign the force to meet the challenges of a new age of great power competition. Through PM IW, the Corps plans to field numerous new weapon and optic systems over the next decade.

“This is the largest modernization of the infantry squad in the last 25 years,” said Lt. Col. Tim Hough, MCSC’s program manager for Infantry Weapons.

Strengthening systems

PM IW has begun the procurement of the Modular Handgun System, which will replace all Marine Corps pistols. This striker-fired pistol includes a plastic clip-on piece, enabling Marines to change grip sizes to accommodate different hand sizes. The weapon is compatible with the pistol-aiming module used by some units.

MCSC will begin fielding the system this fiscal year.

“The MHS improves on the precision and reliability of the legacy platforms, while also bringing with it new, more effective ammunition,” said Maj. Mike Brisker, weapons product manager for PM IW.

MCSC is expanding the use of the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. Originally fielded to infantry units as a replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in 2011, the rifle received overwhelmingly positive feedback from Marines. This feedback led to the Marine Corps’ decision to field the M27 to all rifle platoons as their primary individual weapon.

“We expect fielding of [the M27] to conclude by the end of this fiscal year,” said Brisker.

PM IW is also enhancing its optic systems. Fielded in spring 2020, the Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle is a helmet-mounted system that offers improved depth perception, and the ability to detect and recognize targets in extreme low light, in inclement weather and in the presence of obscurants. The SBNVG provides additional capabilities that the legacy system, the AN/PVS-14, lacked.

Since awarding a contract in February 2020, PM IW plans to begin fielding the Squad Common Optic in fiscal year 2021. The SCO includes a magnified day optic, which improves situational awareness, decreases engagement times and increases probability of hit.

“The Squad Common Optic enables Marines to see farther and identify the enemy more quickly,” said Hough.

MCSC is collaborating with other services to field certain systems. For example, the Marine Corps will partner with the Army to procure the Next-Generation Squad Weapon system, intended to replace the M27 and become the primary individual weapon for infantry units.

The NGSW will provide a significant boost to the lethality of the individual soldier and Marine. The weapon includes an optic/fire control system that will incorporate a disturbed reticle to improve the shooter’s accuracy.

The Marine Corps could receive first deliveries of the NGSW as early as fiscal year 2025, said Brisker.

Additionally, PM IW and Fleet Marines are participating in the Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System and the Enhanced Night Vision-Binocular programs to help inform requirements and programmatic decisions in the future.

Enhancing performance

PM IW’s modernization efforts mirror MCSC’s mission to increase lethality among Marines. The command is continuously striving to equip Marines with the capabilities needed to successfully fulfill missions. To meet this goal, PM IW will continue to solicit feedback from Marines and industry.

“In line with the Commandant’s Planning Guidance, we’re looking to lighten the load and increase the overall lethality of Close Combat Forces—specifically infantry Marines,” said CW4 David Tomlinson, an infantry weapons officer with PM IW.

Tomlinson believes upgrading Infantry Weapon systems will ultimately enhance performance on the battlefield and increase survivability at a time when enemies are strengthening.

“These efforts show we are focused on staying abreast of advancements that are coming quickly,” said Tomlinson. “It also shows our desire to stay persistent, look toward the future, and make sure our Marines receive the best [systems] we can buy.”

Story by Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Photos by LCpl Michaela R. Gregory and Kealii De Los Santos

MCSC, ONR and CD&I Collaborating to Inform ARV Path Forward

Friday, May 8th, 2020

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

Marine Corps Systems Command is working toward the next phase of replacing the legacy Light Armored Vehicle with a modern Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle.

Armored Reconnaissance was the subject of a Capability Based Assessment, the results of which were summarized in a 2019 Joint Requirements Oversight Council-validated Initial Capabilities Document produced by the Marine Corps’ Combat Development and Integration. The CBA pitted Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalions against a peer threat, and identified shortfalls and gaps in capability.

CD&I emphasized the need for a modern, purpose-built ARV. As the core-manned, next-generation system, ARV must possess transformational capabilities to enable LAR Battalions to gain contact with and collect on peer-threat forces. It must accomplish this goal without becoming decisively engaged, while also successfully waging the counter-reconnaissance fight.

After the analysis and various other supporting activities, the ARV concept emerged as a transformational required capability. The characteristics differentiating the ARV from current systems include the incorporation of a battle management system, enhanced vision technologies for increased situational awareness, and target tracking and engagement capabilities.

The Program Manager for Light Armored Vehicles is pursuing this capability to support LAR Battalions, provide them with additional capabilities and set the conditions to transform the way they fight.

“Any ARV path forward will continue to be informed by the ongoing [Office of Naval Research] Technology Demonstrator effort, the ARV Analysis of Alternatives, Phase III Force Design outputs, additional Government [Requests for Information], senior leadership direction and industry feedback,” said John “Steve” Myers, Program Manager for MCSC’s LAV portfolio.

A collaborative effort

In the early planning stages, the Marine Corps envisioned the ARV as a replacement combat vehicle for the LAV. Over time, officials began to view the ARV as a vehicle platform equipped with a suite of advanced reconnaissance capabilities, with an open system architecture that can sense, shoot, move, communicate and remain transportable as part of the Naval Expeditionary Force.

PM LAV is leading the acquisition planning effort to help realize this next-generation reconnaissance vehicle. The portfolio is collaborating with ONR and the Capabilities Development Directorate of Headquarters Marine Corps, CD&I.

Capitalizing on their Detroit Arsenal location, PM LAV is working with Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center to update the ARV concept as a tool to analyze impacts of capability changes. Recognizing commonalities exist among the ARV and the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps are working together to ensure collaboration for those capability gaps.

ONR is conducting research on advanced technologies to inform requirements, technology readiness assessments and competitive prototyping efforts for the ARV.

In 2019, ONR selected two vendors to design, fabricate and test full-scale technology demonstration platforms. Both platforms are expected to be ready for government evaluation in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020.

Through ONR’s efforts, the Ground Combat Element Division of CDD has been refining a set of requirements for the ARV to meet the future reconnaissance mission of the Marine Corps. PM LAV will leverage this information in a performance specification to be released to industry partners to build the ARV.

The collaboration between PM LAV, ONR and CD&I is crucial to the success of the ARV.

“Effective collaboration between the materiel developer, technologist and combat developer is essential to achieving the next-generation capabilities required to transform legacy armored reconnaissance into a modern, combat credible force,” said Kurt Koch, GCE Division, CDD.

Koch noted how the strong partnerships forged over the last three years set the conditions to develop the core of a next-generation, combat vehicle system—mobile on land and water—to serve as a manned hub coordinating the actions of unmanned ground and aerial robotic sensor, and weapon systems.

The path forward

PM LAV has taken several steps to ensure the success of the ARV.

In 2019, PM LAV released a Request for Information to industry comprising a set of attributes for a transformational vehicle. Based on responses to the RFI, the program office met with several vendors interested in becoming a prime vendor for ARV.

PM LAV originally planned to hold an industry day in May 2020 for the Competitive Prototyping Phase. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused the event to be rescheduled to the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020.

“We still want to hold an industry day so we can have an open discussion with industry, provide more clarification and answer any questions from our industry partners,” said Maryann Lawson, MCSC’s project lead for ARV.

In addition to industry engagements, the evaluation of Science and Technology efforts as well as ongoing CDD and performance specification refinement should yield the information necessary to move into the Competitive Prototyping phase.

“PM LAV will focus efforts targeted on industry RFIs and strategic small group engagements,” said Myers.

The Marine Corps plans to use the Ground Vehicle Systems Other Transaction Agreement with the National Advanced Mobility Consortium to release a draft request for prototype proposal, or RPP, for the ARV base variant in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020.

The government is interested in industry feedback and collaboration to shape the requirement and statement of work for the final RPP release in spring 2021. Industry partners are encouraged to periodically check beta.sam.gov and engage with the NAMC for future RFIs and program updates.

Story by Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | 10th Marine Regiment

Photo by photo by Cpl. Corey A. Mathews

Marine Corps Soliciting Proposals for New Hearing Enhancement Device

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

The Marine Corps is asking for industry’s help in providing enhanced hearing protection to Marines.

On April 22, Marine Corps Systems Command released a Request for Proposals for a suite of hearing enhancement devices that interoperate with the Enhanced Combat Helmet and Marine Corps tactical radios. The technology will increase Marines’ situational awareness in a variety of training and combat environments.

“The program manager for Infantry Combat Equipment intends to purchase Hearing Enhancement Devices for every infantry and infantry-like Marine,” said Lt. Col. Bryan Leahy, MCSC’s Individual Armor team lead.

In fiscal year 2020, MCSC received $10 million Operation and Maintenance, Marine Corps funding to purchase hearing enhancement devices.

Per the RFP, the hearing enhancement devices must be rugged and adaptable to various environments, from cold weather to extreme heat. The system would allow Marines to wear hearing protection, yet still enable them to communicate and understand their surroundings.

PM ICE will assess the submissions to ensure compatibility with Marine Corps radios and the Marine Corps ECH. The systems must include versions that are both communication-enabled and non-communications enabled.

MCSC estimates the new hearing protection will be fielded to infantry units in fiscal year 2021. PM ICE will conduct New Equipment Training with each unit receiving the technology.

Provides added hearing protection

In addition to improving Marines’ situational awareness, the hearing enhancement devices will also offer additional hearing protection.

The hearing enhancement devices will complement the Combat Arms Earplug Generation IV—the Marine Corps’ current hearing protection system—by offering a secondary level of protection to further avoid hearing damage.

“The hearing enhancement devices and current earplugs provide double hearing protection, giving Marines more protection from extremely loud noises,” Leahy said.

Leahy believes the Hearing Enhancement Devices will serve as an important asset for Marines on the battlefield.

“Purchasing these devices is a clear indication of how the Marine Corps is investing into the warfighter and giving Marines an edge on the battlefield and in training,” said Leahy.

Story by Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Photo by Staff Sgt. Ezekiel Kitandwe

Running 24/7, and Limited Only by Imagination: U.S. Marines Put 3D Printing Skills to Use in the Fight Against COVID-19

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

MCAS FUTENMA, Okinawa, Japan. – For Staff Sgt. Michael P. Burnham and Sgt. Blaine E. Garcia, a trailer-sized workspace filled with sweltering heat and the constant whine of over a dozen machines running at full speed is simply the setting for just another day. This day, however, sees these leaders bringing 3D printing to the fight for 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, using their manufacturing skills against COVID-19.

For Burnham, who originally joined the Marine Corps as a machinist working with ground ordnance, and Garcia, who started his career working on jet engines, the process of 3D printing has become less of an unexpected turn in their service and more of a passion. Garcia alone has several 3D printers of his own, once used for hobbies and now put into the effort by III Marine Expeditionary Force to print the frames for thousands of masks and face shields. Posters surround the machines churning away, each one highlighting a success story for 3D printing in 1st MAW and an example of the sort of additive manufacturing both Marines have spent years perfecting.

Today, Burnham and Garcia have put their experience into the fight against the COVID-19 virus. In their workspace on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, the two have turned their workspace, ordinarily used for 3D printing parts for aviation maintenance, into a PPE factory. The goal of the overall effort, Burnham explained, is to reduce the need for medical-grade masks and respirators by providing an alternative supply of frames for masks and face shields to Marines and Sailors assigned to III MEF and its supporting units, particularly those directly engaged in first-line medical care and screening.

The plastic frames being printed, Burnham said, started as 3D models on a computer, designed with input from medical professionals and incorporating open-source ideas from others in the 3D printing community. Once the design is settled, a program “slices” the model into a series of programs for the 3D printer, which can then assemble a complete object from up to thousands of layers of two-dimensional patterns formed by cooling jets of molten plastic. The mask frames themselves can be created in a number of different plastic materials, and create a complete mask using elastic bands, cords, or other fasteners, along with an easily washable and readily available cloth cover. The plastic frame creates a seal around an individual’s mouth and nose, as demonstrated by Garcia, wearing the end result amidst the 3D printers at work.

The face shields are a more complicated product, also developed in concert with the U.S. Naval Hospital on Okinawa. Garcia has designed the face shield frames himself, with hospital public health officials providing quality assurance. “We start with a number of different prototypes,” he explained, demonstrating a number of designs that public health experts had directed alterations to. “We look at all the ideas, and each prototype goes through the QA process.”

The final design, he said, is deliberately simple but effective, an arc-shaped piece of plastic with a series of pegs and hooks along the outside edge. “We send the frames to the hospital,” Garcia explained, demonstrating the process of making a face shield with the frames using a plastic sheet protector. “They’ll clean them and use a plastic similar to the overhead transparencies they use in schools, with holes punched in them to fit over the knobs on the front.”

MALS-36 will be producing the face shield frames going forward, as part of III MEF’s overall effort, with other elements producing mask frames at a similar rate beyond the 1,000 already produced by MALS-36. This is nothing new, from Garcia’s considerable experience in the burgeoning field. “Any part that we print for an aircraft goes through reviews by engineers and experts,” Garcia said, “ensuring that [the parts] fit the tolerances needed and can stand up to the conditions. Once that’s done, it’s available to every Marine and Sailor who can print,” allowing the services to rapidly disseminate the designs that make the cut.

This division of labor, with different units producing parts and medical personnel taking the mass-produced frames for masks and face shields and overseeing the distribution, allows the MALS-36 team to focus on rapid and sustained production. 3D printing, Garcia noted, has a longer lead time initially than simply ordering parts that are in-stock, but once the initial design is finished, it allows for faster, cheaper, and more responsive delivery of parts – and it allows entirely new items to be created from scratch in remote conditions.

Around the clock, Burnham and Garcia oversee the process of production. Maintaining their distance from each other in both time and space, the two Marines work in shifts, with Garcia laboring to keep the morning’s mask and face shield production going and Burnham arriving in the afternoon, after Garcia has departed, to remove the finished products from their print beds and begin the process yet again. Despite the long hours, Burnham emphasized that 3D printing is not necessarily labor-intensive once production has begun. “We print them in stacks,” Burnham said, against the backdrop of another set of mask frames being printed. “Most of the time, if there’s a mistake, it’s in the first layer, so we can tell right away if we need to stop the machine and reposition.”

From there, the frames can be left alone, the workspace growing noticeably hot inside as a dozen nozzles spread heated plastic out in an exacting pattern. After 11 hours, the frames are ready to remove from the printer and separate into individual items – and at two to four stacks of ten mask frames each per machine, this adds up quickly, allowing any similarly-appointed workspace to create over 800 mask frames per day.

This output, according to Burnham, is a process that can be kept up 24/7. To accomplish it, the machine’s print head moves from side to side, while the print bed itself, the large plate upon which the object is printed, moves forward and back. Each layer of the object is painstakingly assembled by the minute, programmed motions of the print head, feeding a heated stream of molten plastic precisely into place. The smaller machines print more slowly, but use a smaller filament, allowing for finer detail to be captured.

The entryway to Garcia and Burnham’s workspace is decorated by evidence of this fine detail, with everything from rocket parts and ornate, twisting test pieces to minutely-detailed decorations arrayed on tables in 3D printed wood, metal, and plastic. Even the fixtures within the workspace are 3D printed, with the handles suspending first aid kits and most plastic parts of the 3D printers themselves bearing the fine striations that mark a 3D printed product.

“With 3D printing,” Garcia said, “you’re really limited only by your imagination.”

Story by 1st Marine Aircraft Wing COMMSTRAT

USMC Begins Fielding Plate Carrier Gen III

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

The Marine Corps has begun fielding a next-generation protective vest that provides improved fit, form and function for Marines.

The Plate Carrier Generation III is a lightweight plate carrying system that guards against bullets and fragmentation when coupled with protective plates.

“This system protects Marines on the battlefield,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Konicki, the Program Manager for Infantry Combat Equipment at Marine Corps Systems Command. “The PC Gen. III is important because it is nearly 25-percent lighter than the legacy technology.”

The Marine Corps constantly looks for ways to lighten the load for Marines. PM ICE worked with industry to remove excess bulk from the legacy Plate Carrier, which was fielded in 2011. The elimination of excess material reduces the overall weight of the system and increases maneuverability, said Konicki.

“When you lighten the load, Marines can get to their destinations faster and they’re going to have more endurance, which increases their lethality,” said Konicki.

In 2016, MCSC conducted a study to analyze the components and effectiveness of a prototype version of the PC Gen. III. Marines tested both the legacy and prototype systems during various obstacle courses, including a 15-kilometer hike at a fixed pace.

The results of the study showed that participants completed the courses faster and appeared better  conditioned when using the newer technology. Marines’ mobility and ability to handle a weapon improved when using the PC Gen. III prototype, said Konicki.

“The PC Gen. III improves the Marines’ ability to shoot and move by eliminating excess bulk from the design, and cutting out the shoulders for a better rifle stock weld,” added Lt. Col. Bryan Leahy, Individual Armor Team lead in PM ICE.

Fits men and women

Another advantage of the PC Gen. III lies in its fit. MCSC increased the variation of sizes, enabling nearly 15,000 more Marines—both male and female—to fit into the system when compared with the legacy technology, said Konicki. The newer system fits closer to the body, increasing protection and decreasing the risk of injury due to improper fit.

The next-generation system is designed to fit individuals of all sizes and statures—from the 2nd percentile female Marine to the 98th percentile male Marine. A curvature in the associated protective plates accommodates chest and abdomen size without compromising protection.

“I think there’s a misconception that all females are small, and that’s not always true” said Konicki. “We conducted a study that found the smallest Marine is actually male.”

According to Konicki, during multiple user evaluations female Marines have said they prefer the newer technology to the legacy system because of its fit and mobility.

Infantry and infantry-like Marines will be the first to receive the PC Gen. III. The new vest body armor will then be fielded to supporting units. The program office expects the PC Gen III to reach Full Operational Capability by fiscal year 2023.

By Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

UCSD Medical Center Requesting MCSC’s Help to Support COVID-19 Crisis

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

The University of California San Diego Medical Center has requested Marine Corps Systems Command’s assistance to help medical professionals as they deal with the evolving crisis of COVID-19.

On March 16, Dr. Sidney Merritt, an anesthesiologist at UCSD Medical Center, contacted MCSC’s Advanced Manufacturing Operations Cell requesting assistance in coordinating 3D printer assets to design parts to enable the simultaneous ventilation of multiple patients.

AMOC initiated collaboration with the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific Reverse Engineering, Science and Technology for Obsolescence, Restoration and Evaluation Lab to rapidly design, print, test and evaluate prototype ventilator splitters using various materials.

The AMOC team also worked with the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery for support in evaluating, certifying and approving the parts prior to delivery to the medical center.

MCSC, NIWC Pacific and UCSD have established a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to facilitate current and future support requests. A Memorandum of Understanding among MCSC, NIWC Pacific and the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery is also being established to codify roles and responsibilities.

MCSC’s involvement

On March 18, Merritt provided design files for the ventilator splitter based upon a successful test print conducted by the UCSD engineering team. UCSD requested assistance in printing ventilator splitters in higher resolution and with diverse materials that could meet specific design requirements.

After receiving the design files, AMOC and the NIWC Pacific RESTORE lab printed several prototypes using different materials. In less than a day, AMOC used its industrial printer in Quantico, Virginia, and the RESTORE Lab employed its organic printers to produce initial prototypes. 

The 3D-printed ventilator splitters were scanned to ensure accuracy with the design files and then brought to UCSD Medical Center for fit testing and further design analysis.

AMOC’s reputation in advanced manufacturing has grown since its establishment in 2019. The cell has demonstrated the ability to produce 3D-printed parts and provide other sustainment and manufacturing solutions in a timely fashion. When called upon, the AMOC can produce parts in a fraction of the time it takes traditional manufacturers.

“AMOC’s response to this situation demonstrates how additive manufacturing can respond quickly to supply chain disruptions and rapidly prototype, evaluate and test new solutions to meet emerging urgent requirements,” said Scott Adams, AMOC lead at MCSC.

The rapid response by AMOC and the NIWC Pacific RESTORE lab to UCSD Medical Center’s request for support is indicative of how the Department of the Navy is prepared to respond to the medical community during the COVID-19 crisis.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the Marine Corps and NIWC Pacific team,” said Carly Jackson, NAVWAR Chief Technology Officer. “We are demonstrating the power, agility and speed of response that our Naval research and development centers bring to bear in times of national need.”

By Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command