Tobyhanna Army Depot Earns Shingo Silver Medallion

Anthony Ricchiazzi


Jeff O’Neill, Chief of the Mini-MUTES Branch at Tobyhanna Army Depot, explains improvements to the overhaul process to Shingo examiners, who were interested in all facets of the operation, including support shops such as the Component Preparation Branch and employee morale programs. (U.S. Army photos by Tony Medici)

The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) is preparing for an environment of budgetary restraint, and the employees at CECOM’s Tobyhanna Army Depot, PA, have put to use an effective weapon in DOD’s war on waste: the proven operations strategy known as Lean Six Sigma (LSS). Depot employees wield that weapon so well that they have earned their first Shingo Silver Medallion, and sixth Shingo medallion overall, for improved support of a weapon system used to train aircrews to avoid threats.

The Shingo prize recognizes world-class organizations for creating a culture of continuous improvement through employee empowerment and effective leadership. Increased efficiency and decreased cost for the AN/MST-T1 (V) Mini-MUTES (Miniature – Multiple Threat Emitter System) overhaul mission earned the prize. The Mini-MUTES is an Identify Friend or Foe tracking and training simulator that provides realistic threat signals for pilots and aircrews.

“The Mini Mutes Team has worked very hard for several years to improve all aspects of their support for our Air Force customers,” said Robert Katulka, Director, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance. “The Shingo Prize recognition is well-deserved and indicative of the culture of continuous improvement we need to foster and continue to grow. The entire depot team should be very proud of their accomplishments; I know I am.”

Savings achieved from implementing LSS methods in the Mini-MUTES mission was $2.8 million in FY11 and a cost avoidance of $1.53 million since FY05. This, coupled with a 50 percent decrease in repair cycle time, results in warfighters’ receiving critical command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems faster at reduced cost.

“We are very pleased with Tobyhanna’s support of the Mini-MUTES system,” said Lt Col Jesse F. Warren, Chief, Combat and Mission Support Branch, Hill Air Force Base, UT. “Tobyhanna’s process improvements translate to greater availability of systems for warfighter training. Providing high-quality threat systems for aircrew training is a team effort, and Tobyhanna’s efforts are critical to the team’s success.”


Shingo examiners ask Electronics Mechanic Brian Medwetz about a process that is part of the Tobyhanna Army Depot’s support for the Mini-MUTES overhaul mission.


  • ANTHONY RICCHIAZZI is a Public Affairs Specialist at Tobyhanna Army Depot, where he serves as Editor of the depot’s newspaper, The Tobyhanna Reporter. He holds a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he also minored in writing. Ricchiazzi is the recipient of two Commander’s Awards for Civilian Service and two Achievement Medals for Civilian Service, as well as several Keith L. Ware journalism and newspaper awards.