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Avionics Marines keep Bolts striking

US Marine Corps News

By Cpl. Rubin Tan, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea -- The systems military aircraft use for defense, navigation, and commu­nications are essential to ensure mission accom­plishment.

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 avionics technicians work on air­craft before and after flights to test and ensure all systems are fully opera­tional. If an issue is found, it is the technician’s duty to correct the problem.

The squadron is cur­rently deployed aboard the USS Enterprise in sup­port of maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibil­ity and to support Opera­tion Enduring Freedom.

“Issues we face at our level can be caused from bad wires, defective cir­cuit boards, failing radar systems and much more, which all need to be tested,” said Sgt. Jeffrey Grant, avionics supervi­sor of Marine Fighter At­tack Squadron 251.

The avionics division is divided into sections such as radar, micro repair, cryogenics and Consoli­dated Automated Support Systems.

Most of the squad­ron’s avionics division performs operational maintenance and a few technicians along with assistance from Marine Aviation Logistics Squad­ron 31 complete the more complex maintenance at the intermediate mainte­nance level.

Marines from the in­termediate level would be contacted by a techni­cian from VMFA-251 to replace a system, like an entire circuit board. After the squadron swaps the old component, the in­termediate maintenance level avionics technicians repair the old one to re­place the next component that stops functioning.

“We are able to save the Marine Corps a lot of time and money because some of the circuit boards we repair can cost well over $10,000 and all of our work is done in house instead of sending them back to the company,” said Cpl. Jay Sweeney, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 mi­cro miniature technician and native of Atlanta.

One malfunctioning sys­tem can also affect the op­erability of other systems on the aircraft, which can increase the difficulty of finding the main source of an issue.

“The work we do in avi­onics makes flight opera­tions successful because if we didn’t do our job to fix electronic components, the overall mission of Ma­rine Corps aviation could be affected,” said Grant, a native of Beaufort.

Lance Cpl. Joshua Ochoa, left, and Cpl. Victor Castellanos, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 avionics technicians, review a circuit board diagram while aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, March 19. The laptops allow the Marines to download various diagrams to increase job proficiency.

Lance Cpl. Karissa Hendrickson, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 Consolidated Automated Support System technician, takes apart a heads-up display system aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, March 24. Various shops are present in the avionics branch to provide support for aircraft aboard the carrier.

Lance Cpl. Spencer Holm, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 avion­ics technician, removes a panel while aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, March 19. The technicians are some­times required to remove panels and other various aircraft components to access electronic systems.

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