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News | March 1, 2018

DCMA QA reinforces humanitarian pedigree

By Thomas Perry DCMA Public Affairs

As a hurricane prepares to make landfall, instinct drives residents away from the impending storm. Evacuations are ordered, and those, who are able, seek shelter. Some people are inevitably unable or unwilling to leave their homes and possessions behind.

Sometimes the hurricane passes in a quiet bluster, and sometimes nature unleashes its ferocity, leaving the remaining residents in peril. Hurricane Harvey followed the latter path in southern Texas in August 2017. In these cases, residents often rely on the kindness and heroics of strangers for sustenance and survival. Defense Contract Management Agency’s Ryan Maichel is one of those strangers.

In the wake of the category 4 storm, Maichel took personal leave from his DCMA Boeing St. Louis quality assurance specialist role and joined seven other Civil Air Patrol* members to support disaster relief efforts.

DCMA Boeing St. Louis’ Commander Navy Capt. Paul Filardi recently presented Maichel with a commendation signed by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens “for his selfless actions in performing search and rescue operations and disaster relief in response to Hurricane Harvey.”

“As a Navy veteran, Ryan continues to personify our core values of honor, courage and commitment — at the workplace and in our community,” said Filardi, after the ceremony.

Maichel’s most recent humanitarian actions began immediately after landing in Texas — just as soon as he was able take off again.

“Upon arrival, he participated in flying sorties as part of a three-person crew delivering position reports of any imminent threats to life and safety, all the while looking for victims in distress,” said Navy Cmdr. James Wong DCMA Boeing St. Louis Integrated Cost Analysis Team member. “Between flights, he was responsible for also plotting search patterns, logging information for debriefs and providing reconnaissance photographs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency-led effort.”

His role proved vital, as the storm had left 30,000 Texans displaced from their homes. The information he provided was shared with military and civilian personnel to assist in relief logistics and mission planning.

“We provided time-critical surveillance — geotagging the latitude and longitude of bridges, roads, levees and properties underwater that may be threatened by flooding, debris hazards and oil spills,” said Maichel. “I witnessed civilian pilots flying in from all over, pushing life-essential, humanitarian supplies from their aircraft and into the backs of National Guard vehicles to be safely distributed to communities in need.”

In his current role, the QAS supports production and manufacturing reviews, acceptance on major subassemblies and provides valuable feedback regarding contract language leading to improvements in the agency’s performance by reducing administrative barriers, said Kathy Berti, the DCMA Boeing St. Louis deputy commander.

In 2017, his efforts supported the final acceptance and deliveries of 31 F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers, and 25 F-15SA Advance Eagles.

“Ryan is a great asset to the government on-site team providing acquisition oversight on behalf of our U.S. Navy and Foreign Military Sales customers,” said Berti. “He comes to work committed to ensuring the warfighter is provided the highest quality product.”

When not at work, Maichel aims to provide the highest quality service to humanity. Whether it be as a search and rescue diver, a foreign teacher’s assistant, a FEMA relief mission pilot or a Fisher House volunteer, he lives to serve others.

“In addition with his Civil Air Patrol responsibilities for this year, Ryan has committed to supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics community outreach sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Federal Executive Board,” said Filardi. “In April, he plans to return to Southeast Asia to utilize his marine biology background and diving skills to aid in reef restoration at the Cambodian Conservation Centre.”

Maichel’s other humanitarian highlights include:
—2013: Search and rescue diver in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He conducted underwater search and salvage body and evidence recovery in conjunction with local precincts and fire departments.
—2014: He served as a teacher’s assistant at Friends of Koh Rong, Cambodia.
—2017: He served as a pilot/crew member in St. Louis, flying FEMA relief missions in response to area flooding.
—2017: He served as a pilot/crew member for minuteman missions consisting of photo reconnaissance of decommissioned nuclear missile silos for encroachment and proper hazards mitigation adherence.
—2017: He represented DCMA at Fisher House on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to spend time with veterans and their families.

*According to its website, the Civil Air Patrol, or U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, has one of the largest single-engine piston aircraft fleets in the world, operating 560 powered planes that fly about 100,000 hours annually in support of search and rescue, disaster relief, air defense, cadet orientation flights and Air Force-assigned missions.