MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. --
The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing held a maintenance symposium hosted by the commanding general, Maj. Gen. Matthew Glavy, along with commanding officers and maintenance personnel throughout the wing at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, July 18, 2017.
The symposium focused on increasing readiness and safety throughout 2nd MAW.
Maj. Gen. Glavy brought the maintenance experts from around the wing together to discuss recent trends in aviation ground mishaps, and remove potential roadblocks to allow units to generate more readiness, according to Lt. Col. Michael Brennan, the commanding officer of Marine Attack Squadron 122, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 2nd MAW.
“The reason [for the symposium] is to try to find a way to get together as a wing and increase the readiness,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Roy Howard, a maintenance chief assigned to Marine Aircraft Logistics Squadron 14, Marine Aircraft Group 14, 2nd MAW. “We look at all of the different Marine Aircraft Groups, the problems each MAG is having, the commonalities between them, and what we can do to fix them.”
Approximately 100 Marines and civilians from each of the MAGs within 2nd MAW attended the event. Each Group also brought with them members of their squadrons to discuss and learn from one another to best improve readiness across the MAW.
The focus of those in attendance was on the Marines of these squadrons.
“The key to this whole thing is our Marines,” said Brennan. “The success of any unit is really your Marines. What we talked about here is how to give those Marines the appropriate resources, tools, time and training to be successful and efficient in moving towards a more successful model to generate readiness.”
With the commanders and maintenance personnel in one room together, ideas to improve readiness were abundant.
“I think the importance of [the symposium] is point of view,” said Brennan. “We all have a different point of view. Whether we have a different type of aircraft, a different job, a different goal or a different mission, in the end we’re all kind of driving toward the same thing in a general manner. We’re all trying to drive towards that readiness, that combat efficiency.”
Different personalities mean different ways to handle problems, which in this case is a good thing.
“It’s nice to see how other people handle certain problems because nobody can know everything,” said Brennan. “But when you put 25 guys in a room who all have a different point of view but they are all working towards the same thing, generally you are going to get a more efficient solution. And each of those 25 guys is going to walk away knowing something they hadn’t known prior.”
“I think it kind of gets everyone together and lets everyone know, ‘Hey, we all have the same problems.’ It’s a commonality between all the MAGs,” said Howard. “There’s a lot of knowledge in the room. It allows us to get together and maybe find better solutions than what we may have implemented in our squadron or our MAG. It’s the sharing of ideas and information to allow us to make better readiness.”
The first step toward achieving their goal of improving readiness was creating a plan of attack and identifying the vital key to success – all of which starts with the Marines.
“The most important thing to take away is that we have to continuously train these Marines, supervise and getting in and looking at these qualifications and making sure these Marines are steadily progressing and we’re keeping the Marines fully engaged,” said Howard.
The leaders were confident while 2nd MAW readiness increases, mishaps will continue to decline.
“It’s always a laudable goal to have zero mishaps,” said Brennan. “Nobody wants to have a mishap. No Marine ever walks into work and says, ‘I’m going to fail today.’ This is a human business, and mishaps are potentially going to occur, but it’s not an unattainable goal to say we’re going to have none.”
Continuing to improve and finding even better ways to keep Marines safe and aircraft in the air is the overall goal of this symposium.
“Our most valued asset is the Marine on the flight line for keeping the planes up and flying,” said Howard. “We need the pilots to fly the planes but without the maintainers there fixing and keeping these planes in good condition, the pilots aren’t going to be able to fly. What we’re looking at out here is what we can do as a maintenance department to keep these jets RFI and at a good ‘ready to fly’ condition.
“In my opinion I think the old mantra of ‘Mission first, Marines always,’ will always hold true. It’s always about keeping the birds in the air. It’s always about keeping the Marines safe. That’s what we do.”