PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (August 11, 2017)—Capt. Thomas Dall, maintenance officer of the Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, in Mayport, Florida, assumed the role of program manager for the Common Aviation Support Equipment program office (PMA-260) during a June 22 change of command ceremony at NAS Patuxent River.
As PMA-260's program manager, Dall is responsible for the procurement, development and fielding of Common Ground Support Equipment and Automatic Test Equipment that supports every type/model/series aircraft within the Naval Aviation Enterprise. Dall takes over the position from Capt. Brian Jacobs, who retired from the military after 38 years of service.
Presiding officer Rear Adm. Mike Zarkowski, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC), said the program office holds a special place in the heart of naval aviation.
"If the PMA-260 team does not get it right, naval aviation cannot accomplish its mission … Without ground support, there is no air support," he said.
Zarkowski also highlighted several of PMA-260's accomplishments under Jacobs' watch over the past few years, including ushering in the electronic Consolidated Automated Support System (eCASS) to full-rate production, as well as several milestones and stints in Jacobs' career.
"There are so many reasons that all of us are better for having known you, having spent time with you," he said. "You are a tremendous talent and have been an outstanding leader, mentor and friend."
Guest speaker, retired Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, also stressed the criticalness of the program office, noting that, "Naval aviation is not operational unless this PMA is functioning, effective and has got great leaders like we have here."
Klunder also spoke at length about Jacobs, who he has known since 1985 when both were stationed at Miramar, California, praising his dedication to the Navy and his family over the years.
Afterward, Zarkowski presented Jacobs with a Meritorious Service Citation, the Legion of Merit Service Medal and an official certificate of retirement. Jacobs also received a shadow box, a flag flown aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68), sports-related letters and memorabilia, and several letters of appreciation from past presidents to commemorate the conclusion of his military career.
Jacobs' wife and two children received their own letters of appreciation, thanking them for years of sacrifice in lending Jacobs to the United States military.
During his speech, Jacobs reminisced on his career, thanking family, agency leaders and colleagues in the audience for their support over the years.
"PMA-260 has been my dream job," Jacobs said. "As a program manager and maintainer, there's no better place to be. … The Navy has been all I know. … All my tours were great but they did not mean anything without the people. … Although it's been a great ride, I'm ready to move over."
Dall, whose has been stationed on aircraft carriers Nimitz, USS George Washington (CVN 73), USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVN 71), USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during his 33-year military career, called the program office the "crown jewel" of NAVAIR.
"The fleet does not spend most of their busy day thinking about support equipment," he said. "So why not? It's because of all the hard work and dedication the team in PMA-260 does, making sure they get the acquisition right the first time and in a timely manner. … The fleet depends on our products to accomplish their job and keep them safe, something PMA-260 is well-known for doing well. I'm excited and look forward to the challenges being PMA-260's program manager."