AL ASAD, Iraq -- A team of aircraft maintenance and aviation supply experts was here recently to assess the readiness of the squadrons participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom after the turnover between 3rd and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward).
Sponsored by the 2nd MAW (Fwd) Aviation Logistics Department, Marines and sailors from Commander, Naval Air Force out of San Diego, Calif., and Norfolk, Va., joined Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26 (Reinforced) to assess the squadrons here and Al Taqaddum, and provide advice and assistance with anything in regards to their fields of expertise.
The Aviation Logistics Department’s mission is to support Marine Aircraft Group 26 in matters related to aviation materiel readiness and internal materiel management of weapon systems. The department’s goals are to maintain high aircraft and systems readiness, improve aviation logistics efficiency and minimize costs associated with maintaining aircraft.
Throughout their 12-day stay, the CNAF representatives gathered information that will be used to provide an assessment to their commander on the aircraft readiness and preparedness of Navy and Marine aviation units of the U.S. Marine Forces Central Command.
“We’re here to see how we can establish a different way of doing things. We have to adapt to a new way and minimize the cost,” said Cmdr. Robert E. Howell, CNAF outfitting and allowancing officer and Pascagoula, Miss., native. “Not only are we tasked with fighting wars, we have to do it in a cost effective way. We’re here to help and see how we can take things to the next level.”
Captain Tony Dill, MALS-26 (Rein) aircraft maintenance officer originally from Bedford, Va., said the functional areas the representatives are responsible for, whether it is aircraft maintenance or aviation supply, have a direct impact on how the squadrons here operate on a daily basis.
“Our overall assessment is that the squadrons here have a well led and highly trained team of aviation logistics professionals,” said Lt. Col. Bob Ehnow, CNAF aircraft maintenance officer and Philadelphia native. “The transition from 3rd to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and from Marine Aircraft Group 16 to MAG-26 has been seamless to the organizational levels operating in Iraq.”
According to Dill, the team’s visit was well received and allowed them to observe both the organizational and intermediate level squadrons’ operations, taking into consideration that the Marine Aircraft Wing’s turnover was only a few weeks ago.
“They arrived here shortly after we assumed responsibility,” said Dill. “But they were able to observe a MALS that brought with them a fresh approach to the fight while continuing to enhance the logistical support foundation laid in by MALS-16. The collective goal for MALS-26, both the supply and maintenance departments, is sustained high aircraft readiness for operational units within MAG-26.”