OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Fleet Readiness Center Northwest (FRCNW) officially stood up in a ceremony at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island's (NASWI) base theater Nov. 3.
FRCNW, formerly Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Det. (AIMD) Whidbey Island, is the last of six Fleet Readiness Centers (FRC) to stand up following the establishment of Commander, Fleet Readiness Center (COMFRC).
"This is one of the most significant changes to occur in aviation maintenance during the last 50 years," said Vice Adm. James M. Zortman, commander, Naval Air Forces. "The change allows us to improve our maintenance capability and is flexible enough to support naval aviation operations in the future."
Approximately 1,100 uniformed personnel were incorporated into FRCNW during the ceremony.
"The ceremony today means we will become our own command instead of a detachment," said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Faith Thomas, from Orchard Park, N.Y.
"This change will create an all star partnership in maintenance," said Rear Adm. Michael D. Hardee, commander, Aviation Depots, Naval Air Systems Command. "By streamlining the maintenance process, we will improve our efficiency, agility and velocity to deliver combat ready aircraft."
FRCNW provides intermediate and depot level repair of more than 12,500 different aviation components for all units aboard NASWI. Specialized training and services are also provided for jet engines, avionics, ejection seats and more than 2,300 items of support equipment.
FRCNW repairs more than 50 percent of the J52P-8/408 aircraft engines in the Navy. Each month they process more than 6,700 repairable items for reissue through the supply system.
"FRCNW will incorporate depot and intermediate level maintenance under one roof", said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Mark Johnson, from Bourbon, Mo.
"This change will reduce maintenance redundancies and place the right talent on site to fix it once and fix it right," said Zortman.
These changes were made in compliance with recommendations made during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) legislation, as approved by President George W. Bush and authorized by Congress.
"We have effectively increased the ability of this facility to provide support to the fleet," said FRC's Command Master Chief, CMDCM Rick Farmer, from Globe, Ariz. "The inclusion of artisans with technicians creates an environment of learning that cannot be surpassed."
FRCNW is the largest tenant command aboard NASWI. The staff consists of more than 1,100 permanently assigned Sailors, Marines, civilian personnel, Sailors temporarily assigned from NAS Whidbey commands, Expeditionary Logistics Unit (ELU), P-3 Operational Detachment (P-3OPDET) and Sea Operational Detachment (SEAOPDET) personnel supporting all carrier (CV/CVN) AIMD requirements.
In addition to permanently assigned technicians, Navy and Marine Corps Reservists receive mobilization training and contribute to the production effort during drill weekends.
"This is a great move forward," said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Mariusz Sawicki, from Anchorage, Alaska. "Everyone will learn more about their equipment and maintenance in general."
"Our number one goal is to support Whidbey Island's aircraft and maintenance needs and we will always be committed to providing that," said Cmdr. Katherine D. Erb, FRCNW commanding officer. "Today we need to embrace this change to secure future success."
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