During the celebration, Dave Semat, "co-founder" and program manager of NAVAIRSEFAC, commented on the last two decades of the facility's existence. "Twenty years ago I was sent over here to establish a support equipment (SE) shop at Solomons with a goal to supply the men and women in uniform with a quality product the first time, every time. Now, we continue to provide outstanding service and superior equipment to our Armed Forces, which has been a hallmark for 20 years."
Semat and his team were thanked and praised by Rear Adm. Wally Massenburg, NAVAIR assistant commander for Logistics, for their accomplishments and efforts. "I would like to thank and congratulate you today for 20 years of great service; we are extremely proud of what you do," said Massenburg. "You all are modern day patriots."
The facility was originally established in September 1980 because of the need to repair aircraft support equipment. Two Naval Air Logistics Center employees, Thurman Medlen and Semat, began with seven contractor employees and one building at the Solomons facility, which lacked heat and running water, was infested with wild life, and overgrown with poison ivy and weeds on the inside. They established two teams of personnel who traveled around the eastern United States to complete repairs within 24 to 48 hours of notification. The NAVAIRSEFAC team now encompasses 40-plus depot repair sites with more than 900 organic and commercial employees worldwide who continue to be anywhere in the world within one to two days.
The mission of the team is to "perform depot level maintenance on aviation support equipment assigned to air capable ships, expeditionary air fields and air stations." The actions of the SE Rework Team are extremely important, directly impacting all Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircraft, deployment of air capable ships, deployment of maritime prepositioned ships, and deployment of expeditionary air fields.
"We are here to give our fleet customers the best support we can give them," stated George Farmer, NAVAIRSEFAC deputy program manager. "We would like them to know when they look at a piece of equipment with our logo on it, that they are getting the highest quality product."
When you ask NAVAIRSEFAC employees what the biggest changes have been over the last 20 years, you get identical responses from everyone -- "the facilities, our locations and the diversification of equipment, logistics team capabilities and maintenance capabilities," said Tim Humphreys, NAVAIRSEFAC Solomons DynCorp site supervisor, who began in September 1980. "However, the one thing that has never changed is the support for the men in uniform. We understand what is needed on the flight line because we have been there."
Humphreys was speaking about the high number of retired military and Reservists working for NAVAIRSEFAC. "Approximately 70 percent have served in the armed forces or are in the Reserves. We have proven expertise and experience to know what is needed," said Humphreys.
Changes in the team's capabilities have been dynamic, beginning with all support coming from the Solomons facility to today, with its numerous support centers around the globe. They have expanded from their first reworked support equipment of jet engine test cells and supply for the Navy to all aircraft support equipment for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. They also provide support to the Army, Air Force, State Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Customs, and various foreign militaries. On any given day, there is about $500 million of inventory in the SE rework program worldwide.
Some program additions in the last 20 years include: the implementation of the Support Equipment Resources Management Information System into the SE Rework program; beginning rework of all non-avionics installed equipment; inventory control of New Ships Construction at Cheatham Annex, Va.; and rework/overhaul of New Ships Construction equipment at Solomons. The Team also had 180 personnel in-country during Desert Storm and provided support during the 1993 flood at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Semat stated that additional changes are currently taking place. "We are teaming with Naval District Washington for the construction of additional support facilities at Solomons to support the near 300 contract employees now on board, and we are teaming with the Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia, Pa. to clean up Navy excess SE. We have currently disposed of $242 million worth of obsolete/excess equipment in the past 18 months."
There are numerous benefits for customers of the SE Rework Program, which increase yearly; multiple depot sites allow for fast turn-around time, the rapid response teams ensure immediate support within 48 hours around the world, the SE Reclamation Program, based at Solomons, provides $4 million in parts support quarterly to fleet personnel on request, and on an annual basis the maintenance and logistical support component completes rework of more than 17,000 end items per fiscal year. "The greatest benefit is to the fleet personnel, having them know we are here and supporting them," said Semat.
For the future, NAVAIRSEFAC plans to continue providing its customers with the highest quality SE equipment that they have come to expect and have received from this program for the last 20 years.