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    Deputy commanding general visits 640th Aviation mechanics

    Deputy commanding general visits 640th Aviation mechanics

    Photo By Sgt. Matthew Wright | Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, center, the deputy commanding general for operations,...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Matthew Wright 

    40th Combat Aviation Brigade

    By Spc. Matthew A. Wright

    CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, deputy commanding general for operations, United States Forces-Iraq, visited the 640th Aviation Support Battalion earlier this month to check in on Bravo Company’s aviation maintenance shop and on the morale of the unit’s soldiers.

    The 640th Aviation Support Battalion, from Los Alamitos, Calif., is on a yearlong deployment in Iraq where it is tasked to provide aviation support for the helicopters in theater. Bravo Company’s main job in the battalion is to perform maintenance on helicopters that fly missions throughout Iraq.

    The company has Iraq’s only Aviation Intermediate Maintenance unit, which builds the parts, repairs the helicopters and performs phases of scheduled or unscheduled maintenance on the aircraft. The AVIM consists of both military and civilian personnel.

    “Bravo Company has 59 aircraft mechanics and 126 shop mechanics,” said Chief Warrant Officer Anthony “Frank” Villareal, Bravo Company’s production control officer.

    Helmick toured the work bay area where the shops are located and met the soldiers and civilian contractors who work there, and was briefed on their roles in aviation maintenance.

    Being the only AVIM in Iraq, the mechanics in the unit work on all types of helicopters flown in theater, including UH-60 Black Hawks, CH-47 Chinooks and AH-64 Apaches.

    Helmick toured the hangars and shops on Camp Taji where Bravo Company is based, and had the opportunity to observe several soldiers on the job and ask them questions. At one point, he watched a soldier working on the rotor blade of one of the helicopters. “He learned about the inspections to detect microscopic cracks at stress points of critical aircraft components,” Maj. James Chavez, Bravo Company Commander, said.

    Helmick honored several of the soldiers of Bravo Company with command coins and two with Army Achievement Medals.

    Spc. Peter Bradley, a Petaluma, Calif., native who works in the aircraft engine shop, received an AAM for his outstanding work as a machinist.

    He also visited the sheet metal shop where he met Staff Sgt. Zachary Babb, the sheet metal shop supervisor, and a native of Helena, Mont. Babb received an AAM for excellence in running the shop.

    Helmick wrapped up his visit with a meeting with AH-64D Apache attack helicopter mechanics. “The General thanked them for their hard work,” Chavez said. “(Helmick) reminded them of the importance of the Apache to the force protection of soldiers in the field and in garrison. … They most certainly deserve the recognition for all their hard work and dedication keeping the 40th (Combat Aviation) Brigade’s aircraft up and fighting during deployment,” Chavez said.



    Date Taken: 05.14.2011
    Date Posted: 06.01.2011 08:30
    Story ID: 71410
    Location: CAMP TAJI, IQ 

    Web Views: 74
    Downloads: 1
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    Deputy commanding general visits 640th Aviation mechanics