AL ASAD, Iraq - -- The Marines of Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1 are attacking the enemy using electronic firepower and surveillance in direct support of all forces throughout Iraq. With cutting-edge technology, the Banshees are employing their sophisticated systems to protect Marines and soldiers on the ground.
The hard work of all of the maintenance Marines ensure that the EA-6B Prowlers can take to the skies and complete the electronic warfare mission. The powerline division plays a crucial role in getting jets ready for action.
“We are the most important section in the squadron,” said Cpl. Patrick Hill, a plane captain with VMAQ-1 and Calabasas, Calif., native. “We launch and recover the aircraft and have the final say if an aircraft is ready to fly. We primarily ensure the reliability of the engines so our aircraft can support the troops.”
The Banshees powerline division dove head first and have never missed a beat since arriving July 19. The maintenance department has spent more than 12,000 hours preparing the Banshees’ Prowlers for the more than 450 hours flown since they started supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“We practice for the real thing all the time,” said Staff Sgt. Henoch Rubi, the powerline division chief and Long Beach, Calif., native. “We spend a bulk of our time stateside preparing for the next deployment. By the time we came out here for a real life operation, we knew what to expect and just get the job done. I’m 100 percent proud of this crew. They have worked their butts off and proved all the training wasn’t for nothing.”
Preparation is not one of the Banshees shortcomings. After returning from a deployment to Iwakuni, Japan in November 2004, the Marines began preparing for their trip to the desert. With deployments to Weapons and Tactics Instructors Course and exercise Desert Talon, both in Yuma, Ariz., the Banshees were prepared for success in this environment.
One Marine from powerline has a different perspective on what the powerline division means to a squadron. Sgt. Michael Blua, an engine mechanic from Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 14, attached to the squadron for this deployment. He has an outsider’s point of view on his fellow powerline Marines.
“Without powerline the squadron can’t operate,” the Palmdale, Calif., native said. “They oversee all of the maintenance the other shops perform and they are the last Marines the pilots see when they leave and the first ones when they return.”
Along with performing engine maintenance and launching aircraft, the Banshees powerline division is the centerpiece of the squadron maintenance department. Many of the department wide programs are run by the powerline Marines.
“All of the different smaller programs are run by this shop,” Rubi said. “Tires, fuel, oil and foreign object debris programs are all run out of this shop.”
With all of the hours the powerline Marines put in everyday, they still are able to continue training on systems that they are less familiar with.
“Staying familiar with systems that break less often allows the Marines to fix rare malfunctions faster,” Rubi said. “Staying up to speed on all types of parts reduces repair time and gets them back in the fight quicker.”
The powerline division is a leader in the maintenance department. These Marines provided outstanding maintenance and oversight of all maintenance procedures ensuring the Banshees’ Prowlers are ready for the fight.
*For more information about this story please e-mail Cpl. Alex Herron at firstname.lastname@example.org*