Boots on the Ground gives FRC Sailors a voice

Originally published July 2010, by Northwest Navigator

Aviation machinist’s Mate Airman Dwight Wuerth briefs Rear Adm. Timothy Matthews and FRCNW Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Olvera on the maintenance of a J-56 jet engine.

Sailors and Marines of Fleet Readiness Center Northwest (FRCNW) had a special visit June 23rd as Key leaders from the naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) toured their facility as part of the “Boots On the Ground” (BOG) program.

This program provides Sailors and Marines, of all pay grades, the opportunity to voice their concerns and address issues directly to the decision makers who will help to shape the future of the Navy. The BOG tour brings together representatives of maintenance and supply activities that incorporate better busi­ness practices into their work centers. It all happens through an initiative knows as En­terprise Airspeed which is implemented by flag officers and representatives from provider activities such as NAVAIR.

Led by Rear Adm. Timothy Matthews, the Panel of senior level Navy and marine Corps officers and civilians began the tour by attending a brief hosted by Cmdr. Kimberly Schulz, FRC NW Commanding Officer.

Matthews is Commander Fleet Readiness Centers, and assistant commander for Logistics and Indus­trial Operations, Naval Air Systems Command. He is responsible for seven Fleet Readiness Centers engaged in aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul services for naval Aviation Enterprise; and for overseeing logis­tics support efforts for both fielded and developmental aviation systems.

“For us, the Boots On the Ground program provides us with opportunities,” said Matthews. “First, it’s the opportunity for us to see what great things Fleet Readiness Center Northwest is doing with Airspeed and view their maintenance practices. Number two, it’s not just an opportunity for FRC, but as we wander to the organizational level side, as well as ASD (Aviation Support Division), we get to see what complications are being elevated, and how the folks here can help with those issues.”

During the brief, the elite group of leaders discussed issues great and small that will impact the future of naval aviation. Finances, allocation of resources and manning of the Electronic Attack and Maritime Patrol fleet were among the top subjects brought before Matthews.

With Diminishing budgets, increased operations tempos and an aging fleet which is incorporating new technologies, finding solutions to these complex problems isn’t easy. The goal is to maintain the high quality of maintenance and mission readiness FRCNW currently has, while best using dwindling resources.

These are not easy issues to address, but through cross channel cooperation and open communica­tion, solutions may be found.

Following the brief, Matthews and the BOG team toured FRCNW and observed, first-hand, the capa­bilities of the outstanding Sailors and artisans working there. At each work center, the BOG team was met by a maintenance professional. Each sailor or artisan got the opportunity to describe their efforts to support the fleet, as well as pose questions or express concerns directly to the BOG staff and Matthews.

“The admiral seemed like the kind of guy you could talk to openly,” said Aviation Machinist’s mate Airman Dwight Wuerth. “He really seemed to listen.”

“It was nice to be able to talk to the higher ups, and get feedback from them directly. This was a great opportunity to get a feel for what “Big Navy” is doing and what direction we are taking,” added Wuerth

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