Bravo Zulu: sailors and marines preventing mishaps.
While doing a phase inspection of the horizontal stabilizer on a CH53E helicopter, Cpl. Ruark discovered numerous loose fasteners on the primary structure of the stabilizer, near the mounting point for the stabilizer strut. A closer look showed two hi-loc fasteners in the fitting assembly also were loose. These fittings are essential for attaching the horizontal stabilizer to the fuselage of the aircraft.
Corporal Ruark is a knowledgeable and diligent inspector, and he found a serious problem that could have been overlooked. These items weren't part of a normal phase inspection. The stabilizer was removed and repaired.
AM3 Christopher Harris VP-4
Petty Officer Harris and other members of airframes work center were sent to troubleshoot a binding rudder-boost-handle discrepancy on aircraft 163291. While troubleshooting, Harris noticed a "No Hydraulic" placard had fallen inside the power-levers and elevator flight-control-system console. This aluminum placard measured 4 inches by 6 inches. If it had not been discovered, it could have migrated into the elevator flight controls or power-lever cables, causing a total loss of the flight-control system.
AD1(AW) Wesley Merchant VR-62Z
While checking the torque on a C130T propeller nut, Petty Officer Merchant noticed the amount of effort to set the required torque was much less than previous times. He got another torque wrench and verified the torque setting was lower, so he immediately notified maintenance control of the situation.
Petty Officer Merchant's attention to detail resulted in the discovery of a torque wrench that the calibration lab found was 17 percent low. Not knowing how many propellers had been installed with this wrench since the last known calibration date, the squadron downed their aircraft until all 16 propellers had been retorqued.
AT2(AW) Joshua Brown VFA-15
Aircraft 302 was taxiing toward the catapult for final checks when Petty Officer Brown noticed the starboard main-landing-gear wheel wobbling. He immediately gave the signal to the catapult officer to suspend the launch and told the flight-deck chief.
A closer inspection revealed the brace-assembly bearing on the upper side was broken in four places, allowing the starboard MLG to have excessive play during taxi.
Petty Officer Brown's vigilance and attention to detail prevented a possible mishap.
ADAN Ramesh Thapa HSL-44 Det. 1
While cleaning and treating corrosion on a bolt for the tail rotor servo on Magnum 456, Airman Thapa found a bird's nest. It was difficult to see and an extraordinary find. The nest was in the aft part of the tail-rotor gearbox, inside the tail-rotor gearbox cowling. His attention to detail and extra effort highlighted a serious problem in a critical part of the helicopter, which could have led to a mishap.
AM2 Darren Marsicola MALS-24
Petty Officer Marsicola developed a user-friendly spreadsheet to ensure paint and thinner use does not exceed authorized allowances. Users input the amount of thinner or paint they plan on using, and the spreadsheet automatically calculates the input against authorized daily allowances, alerting users if they will be going over the environmental allowances and by what amount.
This innovation is quite an improvement over the old system, where the amount of paint or thinner used during the day was calculated at the end of the day, and any overages had to be accounted for and reported to the base environmental team. This system does an excellent job of tracking hazardous materials.
AM3 Wayne Hill VR-55
Petty Officer Hill was doing a daily inspection on a C-130T during night flight-line operations and discovered two 8-inch cracks on the skin section of the starboard upper wing. The cracks were barely discernible and were a very good find. He immediately notified maintenance control and QA to investigate the damage.
Petty Officer Hill's attention to detail prevented catastrophic failure of the wing section.
AD1 David Baker VAW-113
While watching the engine starts on Black Eagle 601, Petty Officer Baker noticed that Stinger 302, an FA-18, had taxied forward next to his aircraft. He also noticed that the pilot had begun spreading the Hornet's wings, as the taxi director directed. Baker immediately determined the wing tip was about to strike the turning starboard propeller on Black Eagle 601. He quickly signaled both the pilot and the taxi director to begin an emergency wingfold, avoiding a serious mishap.
AM2 Yunoir Royes VAW-121
Petty Officer Royes was observing a recovery on aircraft 600. As it taxied from the landing area to catapult No. 1 for immediate launch, he noticed the port nose tire was not inflated. Without his trained eye, Bluetail 600 could have been launched with a deflated nose tire, resulting in a tire blowout on launch or the next trap. That result could have FODed an engine or caused more severe damage.
AM2(AW) Christopher Simon VP-16
While assisting the power-plant shop with a discrepancy on a P-3C, Petty Officer Simon noticed a major fuel leak on the aircraft. A closer look revealed that the leak had occurred from a faulty fuel-transfer valve.
Petty Officer Simon's quick response avoided a potentially dangerous situation. Through proper procedures and a take-charge attitude, he was able to stop and contain the leak before any harm came to the environment or aircraft.
AE3 Hebert Taylor and AM3 Robert Smith VAQ-136
Petty Officer Taylor noticed hydraulic fluid leaking onto an ALQ-99 tactical-jamming-system pod on station No. 3 during a routine night launch of Ironclaw 503. He immediately suspended the launch and signaled for an airframes troubleshooter to verify.
Petty Officer Smith quickly came to the scene, inspected the problem, and found that a nose-wheel-steering line had cracked, releasing hydraulic fluid from the combined hydraulic system.
Both Sailors displayed excellent attention to detail, using blue lights, at night, and on the narrowest of areas next to catapult No. 4.
MR2 Michael Renda MALS-24
Petty Officer Renda corrected a safety hazard found in the MALS-24 airframes space, specifically the hydraulic and non-destructive inspection areas. He noticed that the large overhead ventilation system regularly built up condensation, which would drip down onto a heavily trafficked passageway, creating a slip hazard. Renda installed coverings to direct the water away from the passageway and into containers. He raised the safety issue with base facilities and spoke with the controller. The next day, personnel began to replace the insulation on the overhead ventilation system.
Petty Officer Renda didn't wait for someone else to fix the problem or accept the "status quo." He saw a hazard that needed immediate action, and he did something about it.