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Roles in the Corps: Aircraft Maintenance

Proffitt: My name is Sergeant Proffitt and I work on the air frames for CH-53 Echo Helicopters. An Air Frames Mechanic handles all the structural components and hydraulics for the aircraft. My role is to ensure that all the hydraulic systems are leak-free and working properly. And anything that's broken on the structure of the aircraft gets fixed so that it can provide a fully-operational aircraft. As long as we have aircraft that are up and ready to fly and they're safe, we can put troops on the ground wherever they need to be or we can get them whatever they need. Marine Corps air and ground units work together. Any supplies that they might need, we're a lot faster than going on ground. The jobs can be technical and mechanical at the same time. Sometimes it involves a lot of getting the publications, finding the limits on different components, and then when it's time to actually go out to the helicopter, that's when we start taking things apart. Well, the first job you'll do in aviation is going out and getting the helicopter ready for the next flight that it's going to go on, make sure everything is serviced up. As you show proficiency with the smaller jobs you get assigned, and over time you'll start doing bigger jobs and learning more, gaining more qualifications. Eventually it'll translate into a leadership position where you're supervising the younger Marines who are just starting out. Right now I'm in charge of nine Marines. After your initial training in school and you join your first unit, it's on-the-job training after that and it always continues throughout your career, so there's always something else to do and learn. The more you know and the more you learn, the more you can adapt to any situation or anything that comes up. My favorite thing about my job is from day-to-day it never seems to be the same twice. Being flexible in the Marine Corps is a huge thing because the mission can change at any moment or where you need to go can change in a second, and you need to be able to adapt right away. Readiness in my eyes through the Marine Corps is always at any moment being ready to pack everything and go wherever the country needs you to go, and that's making sure that everything is in line, all the aircraft are ready, all the ground training that you need to do prior to deployment is done, and constantly knowing that at any moment you might have to leave. I feel extremely proud any time the helicopters take off to go do their mission, just because all the hard work we've put in while they're on the ground, getting them fixed and ready to fly has paid off. A lot of times when we deploy, you can feel connected to the Marines in the past and just strive to be the best we can. It shows that we haven't forgot what they did and we carry on our reputation.