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    New York aviation mechanics turn wrenches to support Northeast UH-60 fleet

    NY aviation mechanics turn wrenches to support Northeast UH-60 fleet

    Courtesy Photo | Soldiers from the New York Army National Guard’s Bravo Company, 642 Aviation Support...... read more read more



    Story by Col. Richard Goldenberg 

    New York National Guard

    GROTON, Conn. – Soldiers from Bravo Company, 642 Aviation Support Battalion spent their 2017 annual training (AT) out of state, heading across Long Island Sound July 22 from their home station at Ronkonkoma to apply their maintenance skills on Army aircraft in need of repair.

    The company deployed 36 Soldiers to Groton in order to provide support to the Connecticut Army National Guard’s 1109th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group (TASMG). The unit is one of only four facilities of its type in the Army and Army National Guard.

    Its day-to-day mission is to provide intermediate aviation maintenance to 23 Army National Guard aviation support facilities and approximately 500 aircraft in the northeastern United States. The New York Soldiers took full advantage of the work load to conduct repairs on a number of Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and their components.

    Since the makeup of Bravo Company contains so many diverse aviation specialties, the unit formed a symbiotic relationship with the TASMG over the past 2 weeks, said Maj. Eric Fritz, the company commander.

    The unit contributed more than 789 maintenance man hours during the annual training, Fritz explained, greatly increasing the throughput of aviation work-orders at the TASMG.

    “I think it was beneficial,” said Spc. Michael Rivera, an aircraft electrician. “The amount of work that was given (to us) in two weeks was equivalent to multiple drills at home or Fort Indiantown Gap.”

    The support mission also gave the Soldiers of the 642nd an unprecedented opportunity to practice many perishable aviation maintenance skills in a short period of time, Fritz said.

    Many of the maintenance skills conducted in Groton were simply not available to the Soldiers back at home station, explained Capt. Voley Martin from the company.

    Groton is mostly component repair, Martin explained, the backshops which include sheet metal, engines, hydraulics, or power train and the 642nd Soldiers get to work on parts as they are pulled from the aircraft.

    “The difference between working in the facility (at home station) and at the TASMG is that Soldiers only get to work on components as they break and there are some components that rarely break,” Martin said. “At the TASMG they get multiple opportunities to get to work on every component, every day they are there- some of which they never see at the facility.”

    “Sheet metal workers got a chance to inspect the entire airframe with the paint stripped off of it, which is something we never do back at the facility,” Martin said as an example of the type of work done.

    “This opportunity for Soldiers to work at such a facility allowed them to gain a large quantity of hands on experience, building individual confidence while greatly increasing unit readiness,” Fritz said.

    The increased maintenance output provided by Bravo Company Soldiers comes at just the right time, Fritz said, with a higher tempo of aviation operations during the summer annual training season. The unit contribution “has undoubtedly heightened readiness of all supported Aviation units in the Northeast,” Fritz said. “Bravo Company looks forward to expanding their newly minted relationship with the 1109th and providing more support to the TASMG in the future."

    “The training was a breath of fresh air,” said Sgt. Robin Fung, an aircraft electrician. “We were able to work on different levels of maintenance that we are not use to. I hope everyone from my shop gets to experience the same next year at AT.”

    The unit returned to its home station in Ronkonkoma August 5.

    “I feel like AT gave us the opportunity spread our wings,” said Avionics Technical Inspector Spc. Rafael Torres.



    Date Taken: 07.31.2017
    Date Posted: 08.06.2017 14:35
    Story ID: 243948
    Location: RONKONKOMA, NY, US 

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