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News | May 11, 2021

Fleet Readiness Center Southeast hosts “Micro” Boots on the Ground event

By Ashley Lombardo

BoGs are conducted Navy-wide across all aviation commands, as the only exception for this event was the scale of attendees. While leaders from various organizations within the Naval Aviation Enterprise tour the facility, depot-level personnel are presented with an opportunity to both express concerns and flex successes.

Commander, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Vice Adm. Dean Peters and acting commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, Capt. Christopher Couch were VIPs during the event, which focused primarily on reengaging with the artisan workforce, corrosion concerns, expedited turnaround time for the H-60s, dynamic maintenance planning and other overall readiness topics.

“We are always happy to host a BoG,” said FRCSE’s Commanding Officer Capt. Grady Duffey. “It’s a great reminder to our workforce that leadership at high levels across the NAE care about the mission here at FRCSE. Plus, it’s an opportunity to showcase all the incredible work happening across the command.”

A year of limbo due to challenges related to traveling during the pandemic nixed these events during 2020. The void was felt across Naval aviation, so much so that the idea of a “micro” BoG was born.

Vice Adm. Peters broke the ice by addressing heavy-hitting topics like extremism, sexual assault prevention, corrosion and Naval Sustainment System (NSS), which drove many important discussions, but it was clear that NAVAIR and COMFRC leadership came prepared to listen, engage and help.

This visit also gave leadership an opportunity to see exactly how the team has triumphed over challenges during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and included a briefing by MRO Production leadership on product line turnaround times.

The walking tour of the event got under way with its first stop at FRCSE’s Trainer Line where Peters presented Thomas Fotos and Danny Carlisle, both Trainers Production Line Work Leaders, with coins; a customary military practice that acknowledges a person’s outstanding contributions to the mission. Fotos and Carlislie were recognized for their efforts in bettering the T-6 and T-44 lines, respectively.

The BoG also included a walkthrough of FRCSE’s Vertical Lift (VL) Production Lines at NAS Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport. In early April, the VL team was tasked with decreasing the turnaround time for Planned Maintenance Interval (PMI) repairs from 142 to 120 days. The visit allowed Peters an opportunity to view the newly drafted production improvement plan, which provides the framework that will help the team reach the accelerated PMI goals.

“We wanted to provide a thorough visual on how our Vertical Lift MH-60R Production Line was setup and running,” said Bruce Mobley, Vertical Lift Production Line Director. “Despite our confined space at Mayport, Vice Adm. Peters was impressed with our operation, complimentary of the team and expressed his confidence in our ability to reach the new goals.”  

While visiting the VL team, Peters also awarded Tomias Moore, a Combined Trades Leader, with a coin for his efforts in improving production line processes for the H-60 line at Mayport.

The F-5 Aircraft Production Line, the last stop at NAS Jacksonville, was of significant interest because it was the first opportunity for leadership to visit since the first aircraft was inducted in Sept. 2019.

FRCSE has already proven the value of its F-5 team with the recent completion of its first aircraft and eight others currently undergoing Planned Depot Maintenance – an in-depth inspection of  known problem areas in the aircraft for corrosion and metal fatigue, two common issues seen in aging aircraft.

“The BoG gave us a unique opportunity to share our successes,” said Doug Blitch, FRCSE F-5 Production Line Director. “Since the establishment of the F-5 program, we have manufactured 113 items of special tooling with 26 more currently in work. We have also completed numerous in-service repairs at NAS Key West, which has assisted squadrons in meeting their mission capable requirements.”

Serving as an adversarial training aircraft, the F-5 is particularly important because it ensures pilots get necessary experience while saving the Navy millions in maintenance costs and unnecessary wear on strike aircraft like the F/A-18 Hornet, Super Hornet and F-35.

Calvin Wheelous, an aircraft mechanic with FRCSE, was also awarded a coin from Peters for his outstanding work on the F-5N Tiger II Production Line.

Upon conclusion of the Micro BoG, what’s clear is that it benefits everyone from management to production floor employees. While providing well-earned recognition, top leadership was also able to define expectations, providing FRCs with every opportunity to continue pushing the envelope of success.

About Fleet Readiness Center Southeast

Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) is Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia's largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, employing more than 5,000 civilian, military and contract workers. With annual revenue exceeding $1 billion, the organization serves as an integral part of the greater U.S. Navy, Naval Air Systems Command, and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers by maintaining the combat airpower for America's military forces.