Updates | Cherry Point

ACT Cohosting Business After Hours in Carteret County

October 14, 2019

 

We are proud to be the co-sponsor of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours on Thursday, October 17, 2019 from 5:30pm-7pm. The event will take place at the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center (across the street from the Maritime Museum) in Beaufort, NC. We look forward to meeting some new colleagues and talking with our Carteret County partners about ACT and how we can help protect and grow MCAS Cherry Point and FRC East! Look forward to seeing you there!

ACT Cohosting Business After Hours at Maritime Museum in Beaufort NC.

 

OSHA recognizes safety excellence at FRCE with VPP Star Site designation

October 11, 2019

 

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. —

OSHA recognizes safety excellence at FRCE with VPP Star Site designation

FRCE Commanding Officer Capt. Mark E. Nieto, second from right; FRCE Executive Officer Col. Thomas A. Atkinson, right; Compliance and Quality Director Amy Morgan, second from left; and Acting Safety Director Brian Snow, left, proudly display a VPP Star Site banner designed to congratulate FRCE for the achievement. (Photo by John Olmstead, Fleet Readiness Center East Public Affairs)

Fleet Readiness Center East’s commitment to safety has earned the depot designation as a Star Site in the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). The recognition makes FRCE one of fewer than 60 facilities across the entire Department of Defense to hold Star Site status, and the only Naval Air Systems Command facility to earn the distinction.

“This achievement reflects the commitment of the entire FRC East team to safety in our workplace,” said FRCE Commanding Officer Capt. Mark E. Nieto. “We are now part of an elite group of organizations that set an exemplary standard for occupational safety and health protection that serve as role models for safety management.”

An OSHA VPP team recommended the depot’s VPP Application Areas Charlie and Golf for the OSHA Star Site designation following a rigorous evaluation in March. Inspectors rated FRC East on 133 criteria in four subject areas: hazard prevention and control; worksite analysis; safety and health training; and management commitment and worker involvement.

The five-day evaluation started with a review of the FRCE’s safety management system, after which the VPP team conducted employee interviews with 10 percent of the application areas’ workforce population. Following the evaluation, inspectors submitted their recommendation for Star Site status to the OSHA Regional Administrator’s Office in Atlanta, which concurred the evaluation was successful and sent the report for approval to the Labor Department in Washington, D.C.

“This has occurred due to all members of FRC East pulling together to improve safety across the command. Nearly a decade of sustained, focused work has gone into leading to this achievement,” said FRCE Compliance and Quality Director Amy Morgan. “It has not been easy nor fast, but it has made a tremendous difference in the workplace for all our FRC East employees in that they have a safer, cleaner workplace in which to produce critical Navy and Marine Corps aviation products to support fleet readiness.”

Achieving Star Site status at application areas Charlie and Golf gives FRCE a new goal: broadening that status to include all nine VPP application areas at the depot, which was too large to apply for Star Site status as a single entity. The command qualifies for Star Site status as a whole, but OSHA had to separate the facility into application areas to make the review process manageable.

“Earning this recognition is not the end of our journey to safety excellence,” Nieto said. “We must continue to maintain the high standards we have established and look for ways to continuously improve safety at FRC East. Our goal is to also get the other application areas of the command to the same level, so that we can bring the evaluation team back and achieve the same results for the remaining areas.”

“We can’t let up. We have to keep our foot on the gas,” Morgan agreed. “Historically, the press has been on production, on turning out more product – but when you get in a rush and you hurry, you get hurt. With new initiatives focusing on increasing production throughput, we have to be more aware than ever. We cannot take the focus off safety.”

OSHA approves qualified VPP sites to one of three programs: Star, Merit or Demonstration. Star Sites, the highest ranking, excel at hazard prevention and control, and have successfully implemented a health and safety management system. Star Site status is not just about achieving the standard – it represents an organization greatly exceeding the standard. On average, a VPP Star Site has maintained a days away, restricted or transferred (DART) case rate 52 percent below the industry average for at least three consecutive years.

At its core, VPP promotes effective worksite safety and health. The program recognizes employers and workers who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below average for their industries, with average defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

FRCE began participation in VPP in 2010, with three goals: reducing workplace injuries, improving perception of the depot’s safety systems among leadership, and creating a safe workplace with improved quality of life for all of the organization’s employees.

“I think VPP has created a cultural change. People are much more conscientious and aware, and more likely to think before taking action,” Morgan said. “This program has been a huge success, because it engaged everyone to participate and they had ways to communicate concerns that they didn’t have before.”

Under Voluntary Protection Program, management, labor and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses through a four-pillar system. Success depends on the ability to effectively demonstrate hazard prevention and control; worksite analysis; training; and management commitment and worker involvement. VPP encourages efforts to reduce the number of occupational safety and health hazards at a site, and spurs sites to perfect existing health and safety programs while finding new ways to provide safe and healthful working conditions.

“I attribute our success to a combination of things implemented over the last decade,” Morgan said. “The first would be top leadership’s commitment to make a change with FRC East’s safety culture, in order to make the workplace safer and reduce injuries. Command leadership has had a strong presence, speaking to the importance of safety, walking the talk, and financially supporting changes made to large safety programs within the command.”

The command’s positive record of accomplishment is a testament to the depot’s long-standing commitment to safety. In 2018, FRCE received the Chief of Naval Operations Shore Safety Award in the Large Industrial Activity category – the Navy’s top safety award – which recognizes commands with the best overall command safety programs. The North Carolina Department of Labor recognized FRCE in both 2017 and 2018 with Gold Awards and Million Hour Awards for maintaining a DART rate at least 50 percent below the industry standard, and also for accumulating multiple increments of 1 million employee work hours with no injuries or illnesses involving days away from work.

FRCE is North Carolina’s largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, with more than 4,000 civilian, military and contract workers. Its annual revenue exceeds $720 million. The depot generates combat air power for America’s Marines and Naval forces while serving as an integral part of the greater U.S. Navy; Naval Air Systems Command; and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.

(from Navair.navy.mil)

 

FRCE helps Marines boost readiness with composite repair course

September 24, 2019

 
Marines at repair course at FRC East Cherry Point, NC

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C.

A training program recently offered at Fleet Readiness Center East prepared service members to make aircraft and component repairs at the squadron level, which will increase flight-line readiness by reducing aircraft downtime.

Five Marines graduated from the Cross Platform Advanced Composite Repair course, a three-week program led by trainers at FRCE. These Marines now have the ability make local repairs and modifications to aircraft components made of composite materials – advanced materials used on newer aircraft that are lighter and stronger than metals – rather than having to send the parts or aircraft back to a depot for service. This on-site capability speeds up the repair process, which keeps more aircraft ready for the nation’s warfighters.

“We’re increasing fleet readiness,” said Charles Taylor, the composite fabricator training leader at FRCE. “The Marines who come through this class have a better understanding of exactly what goes into a structural composite repair. The class gets them more comfortable with the process, thus improving the quality of repairs they do.”

“It’s going to be very useful, because 90 percent of the material we use on the new aircraft are all composites, whether it be fiberglass or carbon fiber. It’s the future,” added Staff Sgt. Christopher Bruns, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina. “As long as we have the materials with us at the (squadron) level, we can get the repairs done more efficiently, using the knowledge we just learned, and get the birds back in the fight.”

Organizational-level maintenance, performed by operating units, includes repairs and minor adjustments that do not require shop facilities, or the removal or installation of components. Because advanced composite repair addressed subjects and skills not taught in the basic course, graduates will be able to complete more repairs at the O-level, Taylor explained.

“The previous class covered basic fiberglass, and filling and drilling holes,” Taylor said. “This course covers a wider range of composite repairs on multiple aircraft.”

Students spend a week reviewing the essentials of composite repairs, including facility requirements, tools, and fasteners, and key repair methods. Once the students have refreshed their basic composite skills, they spend the next two weeks learning to perform double vacuum debulk repairs on V-22 and F-18 aircraft. The Navy developed the technique as a way to strengthen composite materials by removing air during the curing process.

“The biggest challenge in composite repair is how to get the air out of the material to make it stronger,” said Rob Thompson, a materials engineer specializing in composites at FRCE. “There are a bunch of different techniques for doing this, but the double vacuum debulk process is unique because it can be done out in the fleet without having some of the specialized equipment we have at the depot.”

It’s important to have these advanced repair capabilities available in the field because construction of the fleet’s newer aircraft relies heavily on composite materials. Functional components like those in the engine or gearbox aren’t likely to be made of composites, but the materials are widely uses in aircraft structures.

“On the V-22, most of the exterior of the aircraft is composite,” Thompson said. “Some of the structural pieces inside are composite, the rotor blades are composite – any part of the aircraft that’s carrying a load can be composite. If it’s not moving on the aircraft, there’s a good chance it’s made of a composite.”

The most common composite repairs include patching holes in an aircraft fuselage and fixing chafing or chipping damage on the edge of an exterior component. The techniques learned by the students can be applied to any aircraft component made of a composite material.

The wide range of topics covered means the training can seem difficult, but the varied curriculum makes the course especially beneficial, said Lance Cpl. Joseph Pascale, assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 542 at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina.

“I learned how to do all sorts of repairs that, up until now, I had no experience with,” he said. “Some of what we covered is stuff we don’t see all the time, so it’s harder to find a situation in which we’d get on-the-job training for that. By doing it here, when the situation comes up, we’re ready for it.”

Providing hands-on experience is important, because it ensures there’s someone ready and able to complete these types of repairs, Taylor explained. The additional experience also increases the quality of the repairs, which boosts aviation readiness.

Fleet Readiness Center East provides depot-level maintenance in support of Naval and Marine Corps aviation. Depot-level maintenance at industrial facilities like FRCE supports the O-level and intermediate-level activities by providing engineering support and performing maintenance that is beyond the capabilities of the lower levels.

FRCE is North Carolina’s largest maintenance, repair, overhaul and technical services provider, with more than 4,200 civilian, military and contract workers. Its annual revenue exceeds $720 million. The depot serves as an integral part of the greater U.S. Navy; Naval Air Systems Command; and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers.

(from Navair.navy.mil)

 

Greg Murphy Elected to 3rd Congressional District to Represent Marine Bases in NC

September 11, 2019

 
Greg Murphy wins NC 3 special election

In a special election held on Tuesday, September, 9th, 3rd congressional district voters selected Greg Murphy as successor to Walter B. Jones, Jr.  Representative-elect Murphy has not yet been assigned to any House committees but should be seated sometime later this year.  Rep. Jones was North Carolina’s only member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and Murphy has expressed interest in serving on the committee as well.  ACT representatives have had to opportunity to meet with Murphy to brief him on military issues and the importance of MCAS Cherry Point to our community, and we look forward to forging a working relationship with him.

Here is Representative-elect Murphy’s military platform in his own words:

SUPPORTING OUR MILITARY: “Promises made should be promises kept.  That standard goes for our active duty military who stand in harms way to protect our freedoms, as well as for our veterans who have honorably served our nation.  Our area contributes as much as any in the nation to our armed forces, and we must make sure our services, for active duty, veterans and their families, are second to none.”

NATIONAL DEFENSE: “The United States is the world’s great superpower and maintaining a strong national defense is a Constitutional mandate that must be upheld.  We must follow the counsel of our military leaders and make sure they have the tools they need to protect our freedoms around the world.”

Representative-elect Murphy will serve the remainder of the current session of Congress which ends in December 2020 and will need to run for re-election in November, 2020.

 

 

President Trump Signs Tillis Economic Relief Bills Into Law

August 23, 2019

 

Tillis’ bipartisan bills provide relief to North Carolina’s veterans, small businesses, family farmers and National Guard and Reservists

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Trump signed 4 bipartisan bills co-sponsored by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) into law. The four bills provide economic relief for small businesses, family farmers, National Guard and Reservists, and veterans in need. They were:

  • The Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA) – bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tillis that streamlines existing bankruptcy procedures and provides new tools to improve a small business’ ability to restructure.

“I’m proud to have these four bipartisan bills signed into law giving our small businesses, family farmers, national guard and reservists, and veterans the economic relief they need when falling on hard times,” said Senator Tillis. “I want to thank President Trump for signing my bills into law and I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues to deliver more results for North Carolinians.”

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