Mr. Fred Dearborn served as the Rock Island Arsenal's Civilian Executive Assistant (CEA) for 17 years, from January 1982 to August 1999. He was a staunch advocate of the arsenal's manufacturing mission throughout his period as the leading civilian employee of the RIA. He especially believed in the vital role of field artillery, its firepower and the coverage it provided American soldiers in combat. For this reason, he insisted that the weapons built and fabricated at Arsenal Operations shops had RIA-quality built into their recoil mechanisms, carriages, and gun mounts.
Fred Dearborn began his 31-year Civil Service career as a member of the internship program at Red River Army in 1968, but it was at Rock Island Arsenal that he made his greatest contributions to Army ordnance. In the 1980's he distinguished himself as a general engineer of the Program Manager for Cannon Artillery Weapons Systems field office, at Rock Island Arsenal. He received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1980 for the successful fielding of the 155mm M198 Towed Howitzer. Under his leadership, RIA continued to produce M45 Recoil Mechanism Assembly for the 155mm M198 Towed Howitzer. He managed successfully the production of key components of the 155mm M198 Towed Howitzer, including the sophisticated M45 Recoil Mechanism System and many M39 Carriage Assembly Systems. This responsibility included the final assembly of M198s and their delivery to units being deployed overseas during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-1991. He was instrumental in the RIA's overall outstanding production support during the war. He also championed the RIA's efforts to remain a primary player in the design and production of new howitzers and gun mounts, which included the 155mm XM204 Towed Howitzer, the 105mm M119A1 Towed Howitzers, the future Direct Support Weapons Systems, and the Crusader Gun Mount.
In retirement, Mr. Dearborn remains actively involved in community affairs. He was instrumental in the formation of the Manufacturing Technical Consortium for small and medium businesses and continues to champion the use of RIA resources for the benefit of the Army, as a member of the Quad City Development Group Board of Directors. He provided oversight, leadership, and guidance from his Arsenal CEA position in developing strategic plans and economic justifications for Project REARM (Renovation of Armament Manufacturing), a $222 million project at RIA, which was completed in 1981.
Mr. Dearborn obtained the necessary approvals for REARM construction through the chain of command to the highest levels of the Department of the Army and the Congress. REARM construction began at RIA in 1983 and was completed in 1988, on schedule and under budget. These items included gun mounts for the Army tank program; gun mounts for self-propelled artillery; the Contract Maintenance Truck Heavy; the Forward Repair System; majority of the Army Tool Sets; the refurbishment of M114 and M101 Howitzers for allies in Southwest Asia; and armor kits for shipment to Bosnia. RIA completed the repair of 116 M114, 155MM, Towed Howitzers and delivered them to the Bosnian Government ahead of schedule. Rock Island Arsenal also supported U.S. troop deployments to Bosnia by quickly providing high priority armor kits for installation in the cabs of 166 5-ton trucks, 54 Palletized Loading Systems, and 200 other vehicles. The armor kits were designed to better protect soldiers driving and riding in the vehicles from land mine explosions and sniper fire.
Fred Dearborn was recognized for his technical expertise in engineering, weapon system management, quality and other arsenal industrial operations. His leadership was instrumental in RIA achieving Strategic Business Plan goals and RIA finishing in the top ten for the President's Quality Award. During his tenure as CEA RIA was selected a winner in the Army's Communities of Excellence Awards for FY 1998, 1999, and 2000.
Mr. Dearborn accepted a special assignment at the request of the Commanding General, U.S. Army Industrial Operations Command (IOC) to act as IOC Program Manager for the Army Workload and Performance System (AWPS). In this capacity he was extremely effective in gaining the necessary support for this high-visibility program and in guiding its implementation in such a manner as to achieve remarkable success. The implementation of AWPS as a management tool will enhance the IOC's and the Army's ability to justify personnel requests based on the workload to be accomplished. AWPS was implemented at five IOC maintenance depots.