MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C, (NNS) -- Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) senior leadership visited Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 26 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 26 aboard Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River as part of the Boots on the Ground program, Dec. 12.
This event focused the readiness of MAG 26's MV-22 Ospreys while highlighting the challenges and best practices of the commands visited.
Those in attendance included Deputy Commandant of Aviation Lt. Gen. Stephen Rudder, commander of Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, and commander of Naval Air Systems Command Vice Adm. Dean Peters.
“We're down here hopefully getting dirty with you, [to] look at the challenges, put money against it, put man power against it, put contracts against it, whatever it takes to get the job done,” Rudder said during his opening remarks.
At the beginning of the day, NAE leaders and industry partners were briefed on readiness degraders related to corrosion and engineering product turnaround time.
“Today we're going to show you what we do well and we're going to show you what we do not so well,” said Marine Col. Chris Boniface, MAG 26 Commanding Officer. “We're going to show our initiatives, and we're going to show you where we need some help. The areas that we're focused on, I'll tell you right now… corrosion is killing me.”
An issue that requires extensive engineering and repair work, corrosion has impacted readiness of the Osprey by taking aircraft out of reporting. The MAG/MALS 26 team has been focusing efforts to prevent corrosion by conducting inspections and training Marines on how to identify and treat the issue.
One of the main objectives of a BoG is to identify head-hurters and capture actions items that will optimize readiness, but the event also provides NAE leaders the opportunity to see first-hand how maintenance and supply activities have incorporated better business practices.
Marine Cpl. Timothy Martin, an aviation hydraulic mechanic from MALS 26, briefed leaders on a tool he developed to assist with the removal of screws from the brake keys of the Osprey’s main landing gear wheels.
“Our Marines who work in our tire shop were having a hard time removing brake key screws because the screws would often get stripped while attempting to remove them,” Martin said. “I was working in our machine shop at the time and realized that there must be a better way to remove the screws. I made a plastic body and a metal screw and nut to fill the space in between the sides of the wheel half. This allows there to have adequate pressure applied to the heads of the screws. I measured its success in the amount of screws that were removed without the need for the machine shop to get involved.”
This solution, like many others, has allowed the MAG/MALS 26 team to save the Marine Corps both time and money—something that NAE leaders will be able to endorse and promote execution for use across Naval Aviation.
“I look at the data every single day. I know we've got corrosion. I know we've got issues out there with parts. Things we've got to do, you've just got to get after it,” Rudder said. “I tell you I'm fully funded and we'll do whatever it takes to make good.”
Boots on the Ground allows Marine Corps and Naval Aviation to implement best practices across the board, improving not only the readiness and quality of life of service members but also saving money throughout the Naval Aviation Enterprise.
The Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) is a cooperative partnership of Naval Aviation stakeholders focused on sustaining required current readiness and advancing future warfighting capabilities at best possible cost. It is comprised of Sailors, Marines, civilians and contractors from across service branches and organizations, working together to identify and resolve readiness barriers and warfighting degraders.
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For more news from Naval Aviation Enterprise, visit www.navy.mil/local/NAE/.