There were a couple of items of interest in the field of contracts during the week.
The Air Force will transition for about three years some active-duty maintenance units to contract maintenance beginning in fiscal year 2017. It's for non-deployable flying units and back shop maintenance, and it will allow the Air Force to cross train about 1,100 experienced maintainers from F-16, A-10 and C-130 aircraft to the F-35 program.
The Air Force says it has a shortfall of 4,000 maintainers as a result of budgetary constraints. In the Gulf Coast region avionics units at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base and Tyndall Air Force Base are among the bases affected.
Other bases are Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Little Rock AFB, Ark., Nellis AFB, Nev., Eielson AFB, Alaska, Anderson AFB, Guam; Holloman AFB and Kirtland AFB, N.M.; Peterson AFB, Colo.; and Rota Air Base, Spain. (Post)
While we're on the subject of contract workers, the consolidation of operational contracts at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center, Miss., has resulted in the loss of 129 jobs at Stennis Space Center.
Stennis Space Center director Richard Gilbrech provided that number during a talk late in the week, updating folks on the status of NASA programs. Syncom Space Services took over the contracts from Jacobs Technology and eliminated some duplication, resulting in the loss of jobs.
Stennis has about 5,000 workers and Michoud 1,220. (Post)
Changes at the top are occurring at two bases in our region.
At Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Brig. Gen. David W. Hicks, vice commander of the First Air Force North, is being assigned to commander of NATO's Air Training Command-Afghanistan. At Tyndall he’ll be replaced by Brig. Gen. Daniel J. Orcutt, commander of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Southwest Asia. (Post)
At Fort Rucker, Ala., Maj. Gen. William K. Gayler, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Europe, Germany, has been assigned to commanding general of the Aviation Center of Excellence. (Post)
One final note in this week's column.
Members of the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command plan an 11-day memorial march across four states to commemorate last year's crash of a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Northwest Florida that killed four Louisiana National Guardsmen and seven Marines. The helicopter was flying in heavy fog when it crashed in the water near Navarre, not far from Eglin Air Force Base.
The Marine Raider Memorial March is set to begin with a memorial service March 10, then the next day more than two dozen Marines and veterans will begin a 770-mile march, starting at the crash site itself.
Each marcher will carry a 45-pound rucksack that includes a commemorative plate with all 11 service members names etched on it, and take turns carrying a paddle from the helicopter that washed ashore. The paddle will be turned over to Marine Corps leaders at Camp Lejeune, N.C., the end point of the march. (Story)