Cmdr. Michael A. Polito, Officer in Charge of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) Detachment (Det.) Jacksonville (Jax) and Cmdr. Wilfred H. Judd III, incoming Officer in Charge, stand face-to-face ready to conduct a change of charge ceremony to a mostly empty room.
Amidst COVID-19 almost everything at FRCSE has changed — including the long-standing change of charge, a ceremony that can see upwards of hundreds of attendees. Even though this event lacks handshakes, families and pats on the back, the spirit and honor of the day isn’t dulled.
"Even though this change of charge looks much different than what we are used to, I don't think it's any less meaningful," said Polito. "The performance and accomplishments of the Sailors during my time as the OIC are the best I've ever seen throughout my career."
The ceremony marks the end of Polito’s tenure with FRCSE Det. Jax, a Navy command that provides intermediate aircraft maintenance solutions in support of 15 tenant commands, including Patrol Wing ELEVEN, Helicopter Anti-submarine Wing Atlantic, Fleet Logistics Support Wing and the United States Department of Homeland Security.
Cmdr. Polito’s detachment earned dozens of notable accolades during his tenure. Under his leadership, command personnel embraced a culture that fostered an innovative, hands-on approach to applying solutions that enhanced maintenance abilities, reduced life-cycle support costs and improved overall quality of life. During 2019 alone, the command engaged in 15 improvement events leading to a Beyond Capable Maintenance cost avoidance of more than $3 million. Cmdr. Polito also oversaw the implementation of intermediate level support capabilities for the Navy’s P-8A Poseidon.
"It was an absolute honor to lead over 600 exceptionally talented Sailors. As I look back over the many successful accomplishments during my tenure, it is difficult to say farewell to such a wonderful team. It's been through hard work and an unwavering commitment to the warfighter that we've been able to meet and surpass dozens of mission-essential objectives," said Polito. "It has been an incredible and fulfilling experience serving with such dedicated and professional men and women, and I know they will continue to do their best under Cmdr. Judd."
Cmdr. Judd, a native of Skowhegan, Maine, entered the Marine Corps in 1993 and was commissioned an Ensign in the Navy in 2004. He comes to FRCSE with a wealth of experience including serving as the Production Officer with Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific, NAF Atsugi, Japan from Dec. 2010 through Feb. 2014.
"I am honored to take charge of FRCSE Det. Jacksonville and its exceptional Sailors," said Judd. "Cmdr. Polito turned over a great detachment, and I thank him for his outstanding tour as he departs to Millington."
In October 2006, FRCSE Det. Jax was established aboard NAS Jacksonville and realigned under Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers. FRCSE Det. Jax is one of three intermediate level detachments assigned to the southeast region devoted to the maintenance of naval aircraft, weapon systems and support equipment in support of warfighter readiness.