NAVAIR

Washburn assumes command at FRC West

Captain Bret Washburn, incoming Commanding Officer of Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) West, smiles as his wife, Lisa, attaches his Command pin to his uniform during the FRC West Change of Command July 19, 2018. Looking on is Rear Adm. Mike Zarkowski, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, Patuxent River, Maryland. (U.S. Navy photo/released)

Captain Bret Washburn, incoming Commanding Officer of Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) West, smiles as his wife, Lisa, attaches his Command pin to his uniform during the FRC West Change of Command July 19, 2018. Looking on is Rear Adm. Mike Zarkowski, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, Patuxent River, Maryland. (U.S. Navy photo/released)

Jul 24, 2018

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Rear Adm. Mike Zarkowski, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, left, presents Capt. Steven Leehe with a Meritorious Service Medal during Fleet Readiness Center West Change of Command, July 19. Leehe, outgoing commander, led FRC West in nearly doubling aircraft production, earning two Safety awards and two Retention Excellence awards during his two-year tenure. (U.S. Navy photo/released)

Rear Adm. Mike Zarkowski, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, left, presents Capt. Steven Leehe with a Meritorious Service Medal during Fleet Readines ...

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, Lemoore, Calif.  – Captain Bret Washburn relieved Capt. Steven Leehe and assumed command of Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) West July 19.  Rear Adm. Mike Zarkowski, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC), presided over the ceremony held at FRC West headquarters.

Zarkowski praised Leehe and the FRC West team for changing production management methods that significantly increasing production over the past two years to support the warfighter.

“You went from producing 18 aircraft in (fiscal year) 2016 to a planned output of 36 aircraft in (FY) 2018,” Zarkowski said. “That’s fixing for the fight.”

In the last two years, Leehe guided the command to earn two COMFRC Safety awards and back-to-back Retention Excellence pennants.

“As I totaled up the accomplishments of this command to prove we are the premier FRC in the COMFRC organization, I realized I was using the wrong metrics for the wrong reason,” Leehe said. “Instead, I’d like to speak about what truly makes us a premier FRC. It is our people.

“FRC West is where we produce superior products for the flightline,” Leehe said. “We also develop exceptional leaders and human beings, capable of leading our country’s next generation.”

Leehe lauded the officers, chiefs, sailors and civilians at FRC West.

“You are the best team assembled in aviation maintenance,” Leehe said. “You never gave up and you never allowed yourself to be overwhelmed. You just kept driving forward. That is the mark of true professionalism.”

Washburn said he will continue to assist the Wings and Squadrons on base.

“As the senior Greenshirt on the flightline, I promise to support your maintenance departments and maintainers to make sure you are flying safe jets,” he said.

Washburn enlisted in the Navy in December 1983 and was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program in 1992. His most recent assignment was at COMFRC as Military Director for Aviation Maintenance/Production (N42), Patuxent River, where he oversaw maintenance and production at all Fleet Readiness Centers.

Leehe’s next assignment is as executive officer at FRC Southwest at Naval Air Station North Island, California.

FRC West is one of eight FRCs within COMFRC and provides Intermediate aviation maintenance support to primarily F/A-18, EA-18 and F-35 aircraft.

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Rear Adm. Mike Zarkowski, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, left, presents Capt. Steven Leehe with a Meritorious Service Medal during the Fleet Readiness Center West Change of Command, July 19. Leehe, outgoing commander, led the Command in nearly doubling aircraft production, earning two Safety awards and scoring two Retention Excellence awards during his two-year tenure. Leehe's next assignment is as executive officer of Fleet Readiness Center Southwest, Naval Air Station North Island, California. (U.S. Navy photo/released)

Rear Adm. Mike Zarkowski, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, left, presents Capt. Steven Leehe with a Meritorious Service Medal during the Fleet Read ...

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