News: Boom! VMFA(AW)-242 ordnance helps bats drop bombs
Story by Cpl. James Smith
NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand - Ordnance Marines with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, are awake before the sun is up as they prepare to strap ordnance onto FA-18D Hornet aircrafts preparing to participate in a combined arms live fire exercise Feb. 20 during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014.
CG 14 is a joint, multinational exercise conducted annually in the Kingdom of Thailand aimed at enhancing and increasing multinational interoperability.
Ordnance technicians make up a section of the maintenance division of VMFA(AW)-242 and play an important role in the mission.
“We handle all the loading, maintenance and safety on aircraft that have to deal with bombs, missiles and any other type of munitions” said Lance Cpl. Casey Boatman, ordnance technician with VMFA(AW)-242. “The majority of our maintenance aspect is to perform weapons checks. Every seven days, we are required to check the firing circuits on the aircraft before loading ordnance.”
Throughout CG 14, Marines prepared for the CALFEX by practicing with MK-76 training bombs before having the opportunity to handle high explosive missiles.
“We don’t get the opportunity to work with high explosives back in Iwakuni,” said Boatman. “We get to do some training, but out here, we get to become familiar with working with high explosive ordnance.”
MK-76 training bombs resemble an MK-82 500-pound general purpose bomb, but have a smoke cartridge to signal where the ordnance hit.
For some ordnance technicians, the exercise gave some Marines the opportunity to not only become familiar with ordnance, but also receive new training.
“We had three Marines earn their team leader qualifications out here,” said Cpl. Brendan Kane, quality assurance safety observer with VMFA(AW)-242. “Team leaders are the ones issuing the orders during the loading evolution. Quality assurance safety observers watch over team leaders to ensure the process runs smoothly.”
At the end of the day, quality assurance safety observers, team leaders and ordnance technicians’ work to ensure that aircraft have the proper capabilities to seek out on destroy the enemy.