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News | April 22, 2021

Fleet Readiness Center Southeast conducts Change of Command

By Ashley Lombardo

Schenk was the first Marine to lead FRCSE in the depot's more than 80-year history.

Though the small, intimate gathering was due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19, it did seem fitting, as Schenk is not one for publicity despite a highly successful career and outstanding tenure at FRCSE.

Capt. Christopher Couch, acting Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, participated in the ceremony virtually as the presiding officer.

“Col. Schenk has navigated his time at the depot with poise,” said Couch. “Guiding us through more than a year of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, under his leadership, FRCSE didn't just manage, but was highly successful in accomplishing its mission.”

During the command's transition to new and more efficient business processes, including the Naval Sustainment System (NSS) and Mission Aligned Organization (MAO), Schenk's leadership helped the depot meet fleet requirements of product output and various other achievements.

The efficiency initiatives focused on streamlining and encouraged decision-making at lower levels. By embracing these new ideals, FRCSE was driven by outcomes and achieved dozens of command and industry firsts under Schenk's leadership.

The depot was able to return 100 aircraft to the Fleet in a single fiscal year for the first time in its history, achieved significant reductions in production cycle time for both the T-6A Texan II and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet production lines, and many other successes.

Indeed, endeavors like those mentioned above piggy-backed on both the NSS and MAO bedrock, but Schenk also ensured production lines embraced several Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) production requirements.

The F414 Engine Production Team, which increased production from 143 to 178 engine modules per month, enabled the increase of F/A-18 mission-capable Super Hornets throughout 2019. The T-6 Trainer Team reduced cycle time from 187 days to 77 days, resulting in the increased number of aircraft on the flight line ready for training during FY 2020.

Under Schenk's leadership, the T-6 and F414 production lines didn't just hit their goals but surpassed them, helping both teams to take home the prestigious NAVAIR Commander's Award.

“FRCSE is known for setting the bar high and attaining the unachievable," said Schenk. "I'm proud to have served an organization that continues to look for ways to do things more safely, effectively, and as efficiently as possible.”

During his tour, the depot was tasked with a tremendous amount of work for the Blue Angels as they transitioned from the Legacy Hornet to the Super Hornet.  Being retained as the depot of service for the Blue Angels secures a significant amount of future workload.

FRCSE also broke ground on the first MILCON project in nearly 30 years, which will provide a new avionics facility and support future workload for the F-35 Lightning II, P-8A Poseidon and other state-of-the-art aircraft.  This new avionics building will further push FRCSE into a 21st century depot.

“I cannot overstate the significance of the steadfast workforce at FRCSE and their commitment to the warfighter,” Schenk said. “They deliver time and time again despite any obstacle. I have no doubt that Capt. Duffey will bring out the best in every member through his devoted leadership, and that the depot will see years of continued success.”

As Col. Schenk transitions into retirement, he does so with dozens of accolades and a legacy at FRCSE that will endure long after his departure.

Duffey, a former production officer and executive officer at the command, assumed his new role as commanding officer during the ceremony.

“It's an honor and a privilege to serve this great workforce as its commanding officer,” said Duffey. “As the best FRC in the Fleet, we are more ready and prepared than ever to support the warfighter. Let's build on Col. Schenk's momentum and get after it.”

Capt. William “Al” Palmer, former commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Northwest, a level two FRC, assumed duties as executive officer.

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.