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    Marines Who Won’t Let You Down

    Marines Who Won’t Let You Down

    Photo By Cpl. Jacob Pruitt | PACIFIC OCEAN – Cpl. Nicholas Zachary, an avionics technician with the 15th Marine...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Jacob Pruitt 

    15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

    Flight operations are critical for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the combined capabilities of the Aviation Combat Element’s jet, helicopter, tiltrotor, and unmanned aircraft allows for a wide range of mission capabilities. These missions vary from long-range missile strikes, surveillance, to gear, equipment and troop transfers. Everyone is aware that the pilots and aircraft provide an important service to the operational requirements of the 15th MEU. However, little is known of the men and women who make all the flight operations possible.

    “No one can do everything by themselves and every department plays a key role in ensuring operational success,” said Sgt. Derek Perkins, an airframes mechanic with the 15th MEU’s ACE. “These Marines play a key role in keeping aircrafts in the air,” he added.

    Specialty-trained individuals such as Cpl. Luis Saldana, an avionics technician with the 15th MEU’s ACE, can provide repairs to aircraft from anything as small as a light malfunctioning to as large as the guidance systems for the aircraft themselves. These highly trained goal oriented Marines ensure that all aircraft are readily available for missions and maintain proper serviceability.

    “I’ve been working on Harriers for the past year,” said Saldana. “At first it’s really overwhelming – ‘Hey, go work on that multi-million dollar aircraft’ – you can imagine the pressure. But after I got more knowledgeable and qualified for more tasks, I understand what we do is important. It’s really satisfying to watch all of our hard work and long nights pay off and to know our aircraft played a role in an operation, which actually had an impact on the world. What I do matters and being here, doing this for the 15th MEU really showed me that.”

    The 15th MEU runs around-the-clock maintenance on all its aircraft. Before and after each flight, aircraft must be checked to ensure one-hundred percent serviceability. These precautions save lives, money and valuable time; improper focus could hinder operational presence in an area of responsibility, or even cripple the MEU’s ability to act on behalf of the United States and partner nations.

    “I know seeing the big picture is hard for a lot of my junior Marines,” said Perkins. “However, for the rest of the command and myself we don’t just see our task and our Marines’ tasks as ‘just another day of repairs.’ We understand every time an aircraft takes-off, whether it is for training, transferring equipment or transporting Marines, we were entrusted with the lives of the air crew and the functionality of the aircraft. They know that no matter what, we are going to take a serious mindset into what we do. Keeping our brothers and sisters out of harms way and ensuring they are flying in a reliable aircraft is our number one priority. We make sure as long as there is anything we can do about it, we do it – we won’t let anyone down.”



    Date Taken: 01.03.2018
    Date Posted: 01.18.2018 19:48
    Story ID: 262503
    Location: PACIFIC OCEAN

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