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Keeping-Rotor-Blades-Turning-Over-Logar-Province

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  • 1. Keeping rotor blades turning over Logar ProvinceWritten by U.S. Army Capt. Andie Camacho, RC-East PAOMonday, 05 March 2012 03:53 - Last Updated Monday, 05 March 2012 04:00 LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Where the Hindu Kush mountains descend in to easternAfghanistan, aviation assets both civilian and military are necessary to move troops, equipment,mail and a host of other materials around the battlefield.The 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, also known as Task Force Poseidon, is the aerialworkhorse not only providing attack and reconnaissance capabilities, but making sure all thatstuff gets where it needs to go, quickly. Task Force Corsair on Forward Operating Base Shank is one of the busiest units in the 82ndCombat Aviation Brigade. When compared to the Black Hawks and Chinooks across TF 1/7
  • 2. Keeping rotor blades turning over Logar ProvinceWritten by U.S. Army Capt. Andie Camacho, RC-East PAOMonday, 05 March 2012 03:53 - Last Updated Monday, 05 March 2012 04:00Poseidon, TF Corsair is second in flight hours only to TF Talon on Bagram Airfield, who havethe most aircraft in the Brigade. Their Apaches are second only to TF Wolfpack on FOBSalerno.With 39 airframes, TF Corsair has reached unprecedented flight hours each month, as high as2,100, with TF Poseidon leaders expecting those numbers to increase as weather improves andspring approaches.The UH-60M Black Hawks and CH-47 Chinooks are the most active airframes, because theyconduct general support, medical evacuation, equipment movement and battlefield-circulationmissions.“Helicopters are essential to achieving the coalition’s objectives and effects” said Lt. Col. JeffBecker, TF Corsair commander, of Fairfax, Va. “Army Aviation brings speed, mobility, agility,flexibility and lethality. Our cargo and utility aircraft provide much of that, in particular, we keepthe ground forces mobile and supplied. They’re the heavy lifters across the battlefield.”AH-64D Longbow Apaches are also constantly in the air, providing not only attack andreconnaissance assets, but deterrence. “The Longbow Apache is an incredible system.” said Becker. “Just the presence of the Longbowwill keep insurgents from operating; they’ll go to ground in fear of the accuracy and lethality ofthe Longbow and the air crews that operate them.”However, the real success or failure for an aviation asset begins long before a single rotor bladeturns. “Without the hard work of the maintainers, the birds won’t even make it off the ground,” said Sgt.1st Class Eric Holmes, TF Corsair airframe repair platoon sergeant. 2/7
  • 3. Keeping rotor blades turning over Logar ProvinceWritten by U.S. Army Capt. Andie Camacho, RC-East PAOMonday, 05 March 2012 03:53 - Last Updated Monday, 05 March 2012 04:00“Through our meticulous inspections, we find faults, repair them, and ensure we return a safeand functional aircraft to the pilots,” said the Modesto, Calif. native.In an aviation maintenance unit, multiple moving parts have to synchronize in order to shape asuccessful maintenance program.“There are many players in this game, but our efficient systems ensure that we get these aircraftout the door and back to the companies in five-to-10 days for phase maintenance inspections,”said Holmes.In a maintenance unit, the production control shop prioritizes and manages all personnel andresources across the unit. They make certain everyone is working together to troubleshoot andfix aircraft as efficiently as possible.Quality control is made up of technical inspectors who ensure aircraft meet all maintenancestandards. It’s up to them to ensure all work on an aircraft is done in accordance with technicalmanuals and safety regulations. “We have a sort of checks-and-balances system that requires many inspectors go over everypart and piece of the aircraft to make sure someone has not missed something,” said Staff Sgt.Samuel Melendez of Los Angeles, Calif. “It’s easy to miss something out here when you worklong hours, but because of us and the inspectors, you can be sure that the job has been doneright.”The platoon performs inspections and repairs, and scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. “These maintainers are the ones who perform aircraft inspections and repair any unforeseenproblems that arise to keep Task Force Corsair’s aircraft safely in the air,” said Sgt. NormanWesterfeld, a phase team leader originally from Los Lunas, N.M. 3/7
  • 4. Keeping rotor blades turning over Logar ProvinceWritten by U.S. Army Capt. Andie Camacho, RC-East PAOMonday, 05 March 2012 03:53 - Last Updated Monday, 05 March 2012 04:00The component repair platoon is a specialized group of technicians who fix a specific system ofthe aircraft, including repairing sheet metal damage or troubleshooting avionics issues.“We have very specialized knowledge,” said Sgt. Cortney Simley, of Cooperstown, N.Y. “Forinstance, you have to know more than just basic electronics to maintain our aircraftsuccessfully. You have to be a problem solver and be able to troubleshoot many issues.”A fleet of the best maintainers, however, cannot do their jobs without parts. Technical supplyorders and stocks each and every part a unit requires to restore aircraft to flight status.“The maintenance forecasting system helps logistics preparations for a forthcomingmaintenance event,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Samuel Rodriguez, TF Corsair’s tech supplyofficer, of Dorado, Puerto Rico. “By forecasting your [maintenance] needs before an event takesplace, you benefit in several ways. First of all, you’re able to pre-schedule orders, resulting infewer parts orders and a well-equipped Task Force. Second, you can take precautions before amaintenance event takes place, reducing aircraft downtime from waiting on parts.”Ultimately, a well-managed maintenance program is the workhorse of every aviation brigade.It takes meticulous coordination and resourcing to ensure Corsair’s aviation maintenancecompany runs as efficiently as possible. Without it, they couldn’t support the demands placedon them by the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. While the Army is getting smaller and the end to combat operations loom close, the aviationcommunity anticipates little respite. “While there’s a drawdown of offensive ground troops, the demand for aviation will remainconstant, if not grow,” said Col. T.J. Jamison, Task Force Poseidon commander, of BrokenArrow, Okla. “With terrain like you find in eastern Afghanistan, there’s really only one way totransport troops and supplies effectively across the battlefield. That makes army aviation anindispensible asset for this theater of operations.” 4/7
  • 5. Keeping rotor blades turning over Logar ProvinceWritten by U.S. Army Capt. Andie Camacho, RC-East PAOMonday, 05 March 2012 03:53 - Last Updated Monday, 05 March 2012 04:00The 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade has been in country five months, but has already settremendous records. As of Feb. 17, the brigade has flown more than 61,000 hours, nearly 30percent more than any other aviation task force in Afghanistan. 5/7
  • 6. Keeping rotor blades turning over Logar ProvinceWritten by U.S. Army Capt. Andie Camacho, RC-East PAOMonday, 05 March 2012 03:53 - Last Updated Monday, 05 March 2012 04:00 6/7
  • 7. Keeping rotor blades turning over Logar ProvinceWritten by U.S. Army Capt. Andie Camacho, RC-East PAOMonday, 05 March 2012 03:53 - Last Updated Monday, 05 March 2012 04:00 7/7