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    The Modern Cavalry (HMH-462): Maintainer

    HMH-462 Aerial Gunnery

    Photo By Sgt. Rebecca Floto | U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Todd Gildersleeve, aircraft avionic technician, Marine Heavy...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Nelson Duenas 

    Marine Corps Installations Pacific

    Heavy rain pours on an immense hanger on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma as maintainers diligently inspect parts of a helicopter. A man with a mustache and stern expression observes the Marines' work; he looks like a man who understands the risk that go into their job.

    Sgt. Todd Gildersleeve is an aircraft avionics technician with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462. He and his Marines are part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, forward deployed in Okinawa, Japan, as part of the unit deployment program, with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, affectionately known as the "Screw Crew."

    "I had no idea what I was getting into when I first asked for aviation maintenance," he said his thick eyebrows perking up as he smiled. "All I saw in the past were 747s and jetliners; and all of a sudden I am thrust to this world of, circuit breakers and diodes and this goes there and this is supposed to have so many ohms', but I definitely love my job as a maintainer."

    Maintainers with HMH-462 specialize in components for the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter. The work day for a maintainer typically lasts 11 hours, but can quickly become 14 hours or more.

    "The amount of maintenance manhours that go into these things is outrageous for just one single flight hour," Gildersleeve said with a prideful grin.

    The CH-53E is an essential component to the Marine Corps. Its heavy lift capability is mission essential and without maintainers, the helicopters would be unsafe to fly.

    "Without that knowledge and dedication to the maintenance itself, we are not just putting outside entities lives at risk, like the ground troops we wouldn't get to, but at all times there is a minimum of four people on this helicopter that aren't just random faces," said Gildersleeve as his face turned serious. "It's not a random person out there it's my buddy. That's Sgt. Bret Allen Mofit, Benning, Nick, or Sid. Those are my friends. The maintenance and dedication go a long way to keep people safe."

    Marines in these demanding lines of work have created a community of dedicated individuals that, in spite of the pressure and long work hours, still love their jobs.

    "I don't think there is anything bad about being a flight mechanic," said Gildersleeve with wry, mustached smile. "Who else gets to work on a piece of machinery that can do everything from providing fire support to sending supplies and Marines, anywhere, any place, any time. I get to see the coolest stuff the Marine Corps has to offer, firsthand, and I get to be a part of that. There's really no down side to it in my eyes."



    Date Taken: 06.19.2017
    Date Posted: 07.13.2017 02:12
    Story ID: 240832
    Location: FUTENMA, OKINAWA, JP 
    Hometown: ALFRED, ME, US

    Web Views: 524
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    The Modern Cavalry (HMH-462): Maintainer