Joint Effort


Joint Effort

Delta Air Lines GSE Maintenance group is involved with a lot more than just equipment maintenance, writes Michelle Garetson

By Michelle Garetson/p>

By George Prill

December 2002

Master Sergeant Robert (Bob) Wertz (right) receiving special recognition at his retirement ceremony at GSE Expo in October.

The U.S. Department of Defense Joint Panel on Aviation Support Equipment (JPAVSE) decided in 1998 to convene at the first GSE Expo. Panel members recognized it as a great opportunity to work with the people of the GSE community and get hands-on with the hardware. Since then the Panel has established the Expo as an important part of the yearly schedule. Meeting as a working Panel in the mornings and visiting the exhibitors in the afternoons, members can accomplish a lot in a few days. Proper use of time is essential for Panel members as they cope with the increasing tempo of military preparedness. The meeting was chaired by Ken Sands, the Section Head for Airframes, Propulsion, and Avionics at the Naval Air Systems Command, headquartered at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, USA.

The mission of the Panel is to serve as a technical and coordinating body under the Joint Program Opportunities Board and the Joint Aeronautical Commanders Group on activities involving aviation support equipment when a common need exists among the Services. The Panel is doing it right and is actively pursuing new joint opportunities to maximize the selection development and introduction of common support equipment and is especially interested in procurement of equipment what is in commercial use, a program known as Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS). The Air Force purchase of new deicers from Global Ground Support was an example of that program working well for the Air Force. The Navy is now considering the purchase of the same unit for the Naval and Marine Corps Air Stations.

Tow vehicles are another possible Joint acquisition and the Panel has an Integrated Product Team (IPT) working on this subject. The team took advantage of the Expo to both examine hardware and receive briefings from several tow vehicle manufacturers. Not unlike the airlines, the military are being pulled in different directions by the conflicting demands for low initial and operating costs, i.e. diesel versus environmental concerns, and electric or hybrid. Is it practical to consider the use of hydrogen-powered fuel cells as a power source? These questions will have to be answered next year. Will there be a "Joint" solution?

For Meritorious Service...

An Expo first was the retirement ceremony for Master Sergeant Robert (Bob) Wertz. Bob had decided that the GSE Expo was the right place to publicly end his Air Force career. He was recognized and applauded by a large contingent of his associates from all the services.

Bob has been a strong member of the Air Force's expert team on managing and developing ground support equipment for 20 years. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Award, First Oak Leaf Cluster for, among other achievements, directing the inter-service development of a zero emissions, hydrogen-powered aircraft tow vehicle and generator culminating in the first application of hydrogen-powered equipment on mission-ready aircraft.

Editor’s Note: The staff of GSE Today congratulates Master Sergeant Wertz on his achievements and wishes him a very happy retirement.