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The NAVSUP WSS H-1 IWST Team …
Front row, left to right - Maj Bob Gordon; Adriene Montgomery; Nicole Domingo, Bridget McGinley, Bobby Duffy, Chris Rowlands; Second row - Matt Burge, Missy Barner, Tanya Johnson, Maureen McOwen, Sean Fortin; Third row - Jim Blase, Julio Franjul, Cheryl Kocielski, Paul Mastropietro: Forth row - Chuck Carbonaro, Paul Hanson; not pictured - John Baumgardner.
(Photo by Elizabeth Poster)
“Intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.” – Albert Einstein
Intuitive and decisive commitment to lead a group of seasoned individuals with years of experience helps the H-1 team stay focused and headed in the right direction.
I am the H-1 helicopter Integrated Weapon Systems Team (IWST) director, and I have the privilege to work beside a team of 17 professionals in a building that breathes the traditional Philadelphian tenacity and resilience.
The IWST comes under direct control of NAVSUP WSS Philadelphia’s Operations Directorate (Code 03) headed by Capt. Duke Heinz and Tom Marks. Operations involve three key areas …
* The Weapons Support Department with 12 IWSTs primarily responsible for the logistical sustainment of fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, and all support equipment.
* The Industrial Support Department supporting component repair and transportation.
* The Intergraded Logistics Support Department working supply chain solutions and life cycle management.
Each Department provides a unique support plan for Navy and Marine Corps aviation, and below is the H-1 IWST perspective.
With America at war and the intimidating crack of H-1 rotor blades keeping the enemy’s collective head down, we understand our responsibility to the Marine operational force and the criticality of our job. Let me tell you a little about what our team does for a living …
* We develop and execute logistics sustainment strategies for four platforms: AH-1W / AH-1Z Cobra and the UH-1N / UH-1Y Huey, each in a different life cycle.
* We coordinate with an internal and external team to manage supply chain activities including packaging, retrograde movement, warehousing, life-cycle support, provisioning and disposal.
* Our annual sales total $200 million, and we manage 2,200 components through a process of forecasting, buys and repairs based on a limited budget.
* We are responsible for the integrity of a master database for all part numbers associated with our airframe, to include safety of flight data and inventory accuracy.
* We set up repair business with 28 different commercial vendors and three government-run depot repair sites.
* We are direct participants in aviation conferences, program management reviews, and Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) briefing cycles.
A substantial amount of work is required in the daily operations of an IWST, and it is extremely rewarding to leave the office each day knowing my team and I have made a difference. The H-1 program recently introduced two new aircraft (UH-1Y & AH-1Z), and the Navy implemented Navy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), a new single supply solution to replace multiple legacy databases. Although the combination of these events has been more than challenging, the experience has left the team with a vast knowledge base regarding the inner workings of the Navy supply chain.
“The H-1 team has overcome the numerous challenges of introducing a new weapon system into the fleet,” explained Tom Marks, Deputy Director, NAVSUP WSS Operations Directorate. “Through their outstanding efforts the Marines were able to successfully deploy early the Y/Z prior to their Material Support Date. The supply chain required to support the Y/Z fleet was accomplished while the IWST was fully transitioning into the ERP environment, which changed their way of executing their basic business.”
Essentially, in supporting the two newly fielded platforms, the H-1 team started from scratch without repair contracts, spare parts, or manuals, and within the available funding levels. Creative database analysis, direct communication skills, and sometimes gut instinct have become required capabilities for members of this IWST.
One of our first tasks was to correctly forecast our budget, which we accomplished through the Baseline Assessment Memorandum (BAM) process. Next, we had to complete a process we call Readiness Based Sparing (RBS) to determine the right parts to put on order to support future sites. Lastly, we methodically established repair contracts with various sites around the globe that are authorized to rebuild aircraft components that have been removed from service.
Yes, this takes a lot of work and effort, but with the new database solutions available, selective time management skills, active communication with Aviation Maintenance Officers and the H-1 Program Office, and solid intuition to set the course, we proved it can be done with great success.
Through the numerous and unique challenges the H-1 IWST has faced, the team has come through each experience with a finely honed focus on providing the best possible supply support to the Fleet, and with an even greater knowledge of how to tackle any obstacles that may lie ahead.
Maj. Robert Gordon has 22 years experience in military and civilian aviation as a mechanic, aviator, and Supply officer, and is set to retire this summer. He is a competitor in ultra-marathons, triathlons, and various cycling events. His degree is in History and his favorite read is, “A New Earth,” by Eckhart Tolle.
By Maj. Robert Gordon, U.S. Marine Corps
Director, H-1 IWST