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    Last of Their Kind

    Last of Their Kind

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Lauralle Gavilanes | The final class of maintainers for the AV-8B Harrier II’s F-402 engine stand for a...... read more read more

    MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, NC, UNITED STATES

    01.29.2024

    Story by Lance Cpl. Lauralle Gavilanes 

    Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

    Today, the final class of fixed-wing aircraft power plants mechanics, military occupational specialists who repair and maintain the AV-8B Harrier II, F-402 jet engine, graduated from the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, Jan. 29, 2024.

    After 60 days of hands-on training, learning about the fundamentals of the Harrier’s jet engine and associated gas turbine starter, the class of five U.S. Marines will be assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 14, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing — the only remaining unit in the Marine Corps.

    The Harrier has been operational since 1985, and has historically proven to be capable of executing the mission of the Marine Corps. However, the Marine Corps aggressively switched focus to a smaller fighting force, and new and improved technology. Force Design 2030 provides overall guidance for the redirection of the Marine Corps’ resources to aviation and amphibious capabilities.

    Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Fife, a fixed-wing aircraft power plants mechanic and instructor at CNATT Cherry Point, remarked on his pride in teaching the last class of Marines to learn this skill set.

    “Teaching this class is bittersweet, I am proud to pass on knowledge to the last generation of students,” Fife said. “On the other side, this is the end of an era for the Marine Corps.”

    With the final flight of the Harrier nearing the horizon, Fife has passed the torch to the last generation of Marines to uphold the legacy of the aircraft. The consolidated remnants of the AV-8B Harrier II’s maintainers, along with the newest Marines in the military occupational field will continue to operate the aircraft through its final flights, at which point, the Marines will have the opportunity to separate from the Marine Corps or lateral move to an MOS of their choosing.

    Pfc. Landyn Powers, a fixed-wing power plants mechanic student at CNATT Cherry Point, described his feelings of his upcoming graduation from the class. “It’s mind-boggling to me, knowing that I’m going to the fleet soon and there is nobody else taking this class after me.”

    With two years left before the AV-8B Harrier II is retired, the Marine Corps has shifted its priorities to prepare for the transition of the F-35 Lightning II, America’s premier fifth-generation fighter. The F-35 Lightning II, designed to operate from ship and shore, provides the Marine Corps with operational flexibility, and unmatched lethality and tactical supremacy.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.29.2024
    Date Posted: 01.29.2024 15:41
    Story ID: 462666
    Location: MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, NC, US

    Web Views: 1,223
    Downloads: 0

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