Tuesday, August 14, 2007

HMH-464 aircraft maintainers keep aircraft mission-ready

6 Aug 07
by MC1 Mary Popejoy
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs.

Aircrft maintainers for Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-464 at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, were able to see the fruits of their labor in the air July 29 when three of the four CH-53E Super Stallion transport helicopters were airborne at the same time.

“The whole point of the mission was to thank the maintainers for all their hard work because without them, it would not have been possible,” said Marine Maj. Scott Wadle, HMH-464 operations officer. “We usually train as a section, which is only two aircraft, so for us to get three in the air at the same time is a great credit to their work ethic.”

HMH-464, which includes more than 70 servicemembers, are poised 24/7 to launch two aircraft at one time to support such missions as personnel recovery, movement of passengers, cargo or gear and casualty evacuations. According to Gunnery Sgt. Justin Elmore, HMH-464 maintenance chief, the CH-53E is a very labor-intensive aircraft, accomplishing this feat in Djibouti is amazing since getting parts is a little harder than in the states.

“It’s a pretty significant event because right now we’re averaging 34.1 maintenance hours per flight hour on an aircraft, so it’s pretty momentous to have three of our assets in the air at the same time,” he said.

Getting three out of the four assigned aircraft in the air is a significant event in and of itself, but for the maintainers it wasn’t good enough. To get the fourth one mission-ready, the maintainers worked through the night to troubleshoot some discrepancies so they could launch the next day. Their efforts were successful and proved once again they are committed to their mission here.

“It is [the] proof in the pudding that these guys will do whatever it takes to get the job done,” said Wadle. “They are never content until the aircraft is ready to go.”

For Elmore, it’s a good feeling to be a part of a crew that is willing to go the extra mile to complete a task that isn’t always easy to fix. It doesn’t matter if they’re working 12 on 12 off shifts, or working 18 to 20 hours per day, the maintainers have so much pride in what they do and seeing aircraft launch is icing on the cake.

“They are second to none,” he said. “Just working out in this heat on any given day is a high cost to them and they don’t complain about it ever. They are diligent in their efforts, they have great attention to detail and we appreciate everything they do because without them we wouldn’t be able to do our mission here.”

PHOTO: Two Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-464 CH-53E Super Stallion transport helicopters fly over Djibouti July 29 to celebrate the launching of three CH-53E’s. HMH-464 is poised 24/7 to launch two aircraft wherever needed to support the mission of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Regina Brown.

Source: NewFive NCO.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be respectful of others, so they may be respectful to you. Have a blessed day.