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II Marine Expeditionary Force

Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, NC
MCSC employees receive Copernicus Award

By MCSC Corporate Communications | | February 04, 2013

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Left: Basil Moncrief (right) and then-Capt. John Mohler stand in front of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan. The MRAP is equipped with a mobile command and control system, called M2C2, which Moncrief helped develop. Moncrief is the lead for the Technology Transition Office within Marine Air-Ground Task Force Command, Control and Communications at Marine Corps Systems Command.  Right: The Marine Corps’s Director of Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4), Brigadier General Kevin Nally, presents MCTSSA's Buck Connally with the 2012 Copernicus Award for sustained, superior performance in the field of C4. Connally’s wife Kathy also attended the award ceremony at the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association West's Conference and Symposium in San Diego, Calif.

Left: Basil Moncrief (right) and then-Capt. John Mohler stand in front of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle at Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan. The MRAP is equipped with a mobile command and control system, called M2C2, which Moncrief helped develop. Moncrief is the lead for the Technology Transition Office within Marine Air-Ground Task Force Command, Control and Communications at Marine Corps Systems Command. Right: The Marine Corps’s Director of Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4), Brigadier General Kevin Nally, presents MCTSSA's Buck Connally with the 2012 Copernicus Award for sustained, superior performance in the field of C4. Connally’s wife Kathy also attended the award ceremony at the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association West's Conference and Symposium in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Courtesy Photos)


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02-04-2013 --

Marine Corps Systems Command employees – one at Quantico, Va., and another at Camp Pendleton, Calif. – have been named Copernicus Award recipients for accomplishments in their areas of expertise.

The Copernicus Award is presented annually for individual contributions to naval warfare in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, information systems and information warfare. The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and U.S. Naval Institute awarded 31 Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard active-duty military and civilians for superior performance in those fields in 2012.

The following are their individual stories:

Basil Moncrief

By Monique Randolph, MCSC Corporate Communications

A civilian responsible for changing the way Marines communicate on the battlefield will receive the 2012 Copernicus Award in February at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

Basil Moncrief, lead for the Technology Transition Office within Marine Air-Ground Task Force Command, Control and Communications at MCSC, received the award for his role in developing two command, control and communications, or C3, systems for the Marine Corps.  

“I’m humbled and flattered that my leaders took the time to put me in for this,” Moncrief said. “Anyone who looks at the complexity of these programs can imagine how many people were involved in making it happen. So, I’m glad the program is being recognized and by extension, the team is being recognized.”

“Basil is very humble; he always gives credit to his team,” said Moncrief’s supervisor Lt. Col. Tyrone Ferrel, product manager for MAGTF Command and Control Systems. “But every great team has a great leader. When those urgent requirements come in it takes someone like Basil to spur the acquisitions team into action.”

In 2009, Moncrief’s team quickly developed a mobile command and control system, called M2C2, for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. The M2C2 system uses wide-band satellite communications to enable Marines to accomplish secure command, control and communications on the move, over uneven terrain and in harsh combat conditions. Three systems are still operational in Afghanistan today. 

“The [M2C2] allows the commander and his staff to get in a vehicle, go out to the edge of the battlefield and still maintain full connectivity with the rear, be able to communicate with higher [headquarters], and send orders to lower and adjacent [units],” Moncrief said. “That’s the breakthrough technology—being able to stay locked into the satellite and maintain connectivity while the vehicle is moving over rugged terrain.”

In 2012, Moncrief again assembled a team now developing a new system to meet an urgent requirement for the Marine Corps. The new system, called Network-on-the-Move, or NOTM, uses M2C2 technology with added advancements such as full-motion video and a more modular design so it can be integrated into several other Marine Corps vehicles.

“When commanders in the fleet have this capability and they realize what it offers, it will be game-changing,” Ferrel said. “It will potentially change the face of the battlefield in the future.”

Ferrel said Moncrief deserves the Copernicus Award because of his dedication and his team’s proven ability to develop a system and rapidly deploy the capability in the field.

“What they accomplished in such a short time was actually heroic,” Ferrel said. “Not only is there the no-kidding technical rigor behind a product they made, but there’s also all the support effort that goes along with it so you have a sustainable capability out in the fleet.”

For Moncrief, just being able to do his job is reward enough, he said. 

“When I pass that Marine Corps Base sign on the highway every day on my way to work, that’s 100 percent of my motivation,” Moncrief said. “Knowing I have a direct role in helping to equip Marines for current and future battles—that motivates me more than words can say.”

Earl “Buck” Connally

By Wil Williams, MCTSSA Public Affairs

Earl “Buck” Connally, the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity’s branch head for the Interoperability Branch, Test and Certification Group, has been named a recipient of the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association Copernicus Award. AFCEA and the U.S. Naval Institute recognized his sustained, superior performance in the field of interoperability and command, control, communications, computers and intelligence/information technology, or C4I/IT.

“It is very satisfying to be recognized,” Connally said. “However, I am really a facilitator. This award actually reflects the achievements of our team of interoperability experts. They deal with and do a great variety of things such as joint and coalition data exchange standards, joint network designs and joint C4I certification. Their efforts also impact every command-and-control system within the Marine Corps.”

In receiving the award, Connally was cited for his hands-on, effective day-to-day directions and tactical systems interoperability contributions. They have ensured Marines have the right information at the right time and place to meet their command-and-control needs. He was also commended for his leadership in representing the Marine Corps interest in this highly technical and critically important field within the joint service and NATO communities.

“We’re very proud of Buck’s being selected for the Copernicus Award,” said Col. Christopher Snyder, MCTSSA commanding officer. “It truly represents the outstanding contributions and sustained superior performance he and his team have made to MCTSSA, our nation’s coalition partners and Marines around the world.”

Headquartered at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity is a Marine Corps focal point for technical expertise, engineering, testing, certification and support of command, control, communications and computer systems.