Marines in Aircraft Maintenance repair and maintain all systems on Marine Corps aircraft, including airframes, radar, navigation equipment and weapon systems. In addition, they maintain the engines and power plant package of all aircraft weapon systems. These Marines specialize in specific systems on either fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft.
After recruit training, these Marines will complete formal schooling according to their individual roles, such as the Aviation Maintenance Administration Course at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Miss, or the T-58 Engine First Degree Intermediate Maintenance class in New River, NC.
Within the MEU
Aircraft Maintenance Marines perform all pre-flight checks and maintenance, and all inspections and repairs following each mission. They work closely with aviation supply and enlisted crew chiefs to ensure their aircraft are safe and fully operational at all times.
Specialties in Aircraft Maintenance include:
- Fixed-Wing Aircraft Power Plants Mechanic, F-402: Inspects, maintains, tests and performs complete repair of aircraft power plants and power plant systems.
- Helicopter Mechanic, CH-46: Inspects and maintains helicopter airframes and airframe components, and performs duties relating to flight line operation.
- Aviation Communication Systems Technician: Performs and supervises installation, alignment, inspection, testing, maintenance and repair of equipment within the MACCS.
MAGTF refers to the unique four-part structure that organizes Marine Corps operating forces. This framework brings together Aviation, Ground and Logistics Combat elements under a central Command element. The result is a flexible, combined-arms unit with the capabilities to conduct the Marine Corps' full range of operations, from humanitarian aid and disaster relief to projection of power from the sea.
MAKEUP OF A MEU
A MEU, or Marine Expeditionary Unit, is the smallest type of MAGTF, often providing the most substantial response in the shortest amount of time. 2,200 Marines that are trained in hundreds of areas of expertise serve on a MEU. Here is the breakdown of a MEU's makeup:
Command Element – Approximately 200 Marines. Responsible for command and control of the entire MEU.
Ground Combat Element – Approximately 1,200 Marines. A Battalion Landing Team that includes three rifle companies, a weapons company, a battery of artillery and platoons of the following: combat engineers, light armored reconnaissance, tanks, Force Reconnaissance and amphibious assault vehicles.
Aviation Combat Element – Approximately 500 Marines. A MEU's ACE is built around a medium tilt-rotor squadron, reinforced by CH-53E heavy lift helicopters, light attack helicopters and Harrier attack jets. The result is a squadron of 25 to 30 aircraft.
Logistics Combat Element – Approximately 300 Marines. Provides supply, transportation, maintenance and additional support for the MEU.
READY AT SEA
MEUs deploy aboard an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG): Three naval ships specifically designed to provide the Marines with a mobile base of operations. See here what serving aboard a MEU entails.