NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan -- After visiting Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni earlier this week, Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) leadership made visits to the forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi in support of the Boots on the Ground (BoG) program, Aug. 8 and 9.
Those in attendance included the Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller; Commander, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Vice Adm. G. Dean Peters; and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Rear Adm. Michael Zarkowski.
Those in attendance included Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF), Vice Adm. G. Dean Peters, commander, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and Rear Adm. Michael Zarkowski, commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.
While on the Reagan, NAE leaders collected action items affecting current readiness at the deck plate level as well as how Sailors onboard the carrier are actively streamlining continuous process improvements (CPI).
“The beauty of this whole week of visits is that it allows us to get the full picture,” said Miller. “We know the elevated nature of being forward-deployed – sustainment and readiness are happening at Iwakuni, on the ship and in Atsugi – so as we collect our takeaways and prioritize what we need to do, we [as the NAE] need to keep all of that in mind.”
At the conclusion of Reagan’s Boots on Deck (BoD), the NAE team traveled to NAF Atsugi as part of their efforts to capture the needs of FDNF operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations (AOR).
“There is no question in my mind that we are more capable today in the support we provide the warfighter than we were yesterday,” said Commander, Fleet Air Forward (CFAF) Navy Capt. Brian Erickson. “What we want to focus on here is what can we do to get better and how we can improve that support.”
During a tour of Atsugi’s Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Detachment (AIMD), leaders were briefed firsthand the issues that Sailors deal with in their day-to-day operations.
“It’s awesome that they are doing this event here,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Aliya Younossi, recipient of the NAE’s Excellence Award in Atsugi. “To get a chance to tell leadership your work center’s issues and ideas is incredible. Any opportunity you have to question a process in order to make things better and to get that heard by someone who may be able to help is always a good thing.”
Peters, who assumed command of NAVAIR earlier this summer, explained the next step toward resolving the challenges NAE leaders witnessed during the BoG.
“This group did an excellent job of capturing all of the action items,” said Peters. “The challenge now is for us [leadership] to follow through on these in a relatively short timeframe.”
Following the installation visit, Miller addressed BoG team members and senior leadership about the way forward.
“Your concerns are our concerns,” said Miller. “We have an opportunity now that we didn’t have before with sequestration – doing more with less, having a lack of resources and our readiness is not where it needed to be. We still have a lot to do, but we have turned the corner and are making improvements now that we have a healthy budget which is good news.”
Boots on the Ground allows Marine Corps and Naval Aviation to implement the best practices across the board, improving not only the readiness and quality of life of service members but also saving money throughout 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.