News: A MAG-nificent day
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION KANEOHE BAY - Marine Aircraft Group 24 service members and family members attended their inaugural “A Day in the Boots of a MAG-nificent Marine or Sailor” event at numerous locations aboard Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay and Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Feb. 12, 2014.
Family members toured various facilities and learned the inner workings of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 and Marine Wing Support Detachment 24, all of which fall under MAG-24. The event gave family members a glimpse of a regular workday for MAG-24 Marines and sailors.
“The intent of this event is threefold — to highlight what the Marines and sailors do to support their own unit’s mission, to show how the units within MAG-24 support each other, and to understand how everyone works toward the overall mission of the MAG,” said Louise Yeager, the family readiness officer for MAG-24.
“‘A Day in the Boots of a MAG-nificent Marine and Sailor’ is also a wonderful opportunity to build up our community of spouses. The link between unit readiness, personal (and) family readiness will become more apparent, and (family members) will walk away all the more proud of (their) Marine or sailor.”
On the morning of Feb. 12, MAG-24 spouses and relatives gathered at a canopy between Hangars 101 and 102, and were provided with nametags and small refreshments.
The event began like a typical workday for many MAG-24 service
members — with a foreign object damage walk. Every morning, service members must conduct a FOD walk to ensure there are no foreign objects on the flight line that could damage the aircraft. Members of HMH-463 directed the family members to form a straight line across the flight line, and walk forward slowly, in search of any loose objects from trash to stray aircraft pieces. Several family members found surprise gifts during the FOD walk, like a Pegasus charm bracelet.
After the FOD walk, they regrouped at the canopies for remarks from Col. Paul Fortunato, the commanding officer of MAG-24.
“How do we all work together?” Fortunato asked. “How does MWSD support Scarface? How does MAG-24 (headquarters) support everybody? It’s a great team effort (and we want to build) an appreciation for that. Just like any other family readiness type
of event, we want to keep building on that sense of community. Having a little event like this will help you meet somebody new, strengthen a friendship that you may already have or learn something new.”
Fortunato thanked the participants for attending and the volunteers for setting up the event. The event leaders divided the group in two, with family members from various MAG-24 units intermingling with each other.
“We want to mix it up,” Fortunato said. “(Attendees can meet) new people, see how we all integrate, see how we all work together. (The lead escorts will) get the groups formed up (and) get you
started on what will hopefully be a fun and enjoyable, educational day.”
Both groups started their tours in separate locations and rotated.
In Hangar 101, HMLA-367 Marines showed family members the parts of a UH-1Y Huey and an AH-1W Super Cobra. Maj. Peter Keogh, the assistant aviation maintenance officer of HMLA-367, gave an overview of the daily tasks of the Scarface Marines. Keogh also showed the group types of equipment such as helmets and survival vests.
Among other facilities, the groups visited Hangar 375, where MALS-
24 departments operate. Family members learned about the different divisions within MALS-24, such as the 700 Division, which is the ordnance department, and 900 Division, which works with support equipment. They also stopped at the MAG-24 headquarters building.
In the afternoon, MWSD-24 explained the procedures involved in
landing and refueling an aircraft, showing them different types of
equipment. The families also received a brief lesson and a simulated-flying experience in the CH-53E Super Stallion and AH-1W Super Cobra flight simulators at building 6789.
“I really wanted to fly in the Cobra,” said Monica Morales, a Scarface
spouse from Santa Paula, Calif. “That was my favorite part of the day. It was exciting but more technical than I thought.”
Morales said it was fun learning about the different units and “just
to have the feeling” of “an average day for a Marine (or sailor)” at events like these is beneficial to the spouses. She complimented the coordinators for their efforts in putting the event together.
“It was really heartwarming to hear all the positive feedback from the spouses,” said Sarah Fortunato, spouse of the MAG-24 commanding officer. “One said how she appreciated how everyone works together while another commented that through the event she learned about all the preparation that goes into getting a helicopter ready for flight. Events like these bring us spouses together.”