Bravo Zulu: sailors and marines preventing mishaps.
Petty Officer Reeske, a CDQAR, had to inspect the main rotor blades with centering sockets aligned. Even though the socket alignment is based solely on torque values and no prescribed visual-inspection procedure exists, he felt that the whole setup "just didn't look right."
Petty Officer Reeske immediately ordered the sockets realigned, but one blade's lower centering socket slid forward with no torque at all. Reaching into the rotor hub, he could feel the socket, and it moved freely. After the blade was removed, the socket was cracked in two places, most likely from material failure. This find was remarkable because it was a non-routine visual inspection and done by a CDQAR--work above and beyond his normal duties.
ADAN Roberto Vargas HSL-42
Airman Vargas accompanied the crew of Proud Warrior 420, an SH-60B, to Ambouli Field, Djibouti for a routine personnel transfer. Working as a plane captain at the field, he noticed a large amount of hydraulic fluid on the upper housing of the aircraft and expeditiously instructed the crew to shutdown.
After shutdown, Airman Vargas discovered a blown damper seal on the main rotor, leading to the loss of all hydraulic pressure and fluid in the rotor head. He then ensured the aircraft was secured and steps were taken to clean the area of hydraulic fluid.
Airman Vargas' actions prevented the helo from returning to the ship with a damaged main-rotor damper, a problem that could have caused a mishap.
Sgt. Delagarza, Sgt. Thomas, and Cpl. Johnson VMFA-251
These Marines were pre-positioned at the departure end of runway 31 at NAS Fallon, Nev. to arm aircraft ordnance. As two FA-18s loaded with four Mk-82 general-purpose bombs taxied past, they noticed the second aircraft's port tire was flat and smoking. They ran after the aircraft, trying unsuccessfully to get the pilot's attention. The Marines subsequently called the control tower with their hand-held radio. The tower notified the pilot, who taxied clear of the runway and shut down the aircraft.
An inspection revealed the left brake was dragging, which caused the brake to heat up and deflate the tire. Their actions prevented a fire from developing that could have cooked off the ordnance.
ADAN Kyle Jones VFA-81
Aircraft 400 was being pushed back on the bow. Airman Jones noticed the move director was positioned on the starboard side of the aircraft and could not see he was dangerously close to backing 400 into the nose of another aircraft. Jones immediately signaled the tow-tractor driver to stop.
The port horizontal stabilator was within 18 inches of the radome of aircraft 411. Airman Jones' quick thinking and assertiveness averted what would have been a crunch between two SUNLINER aircraft, saving the Navy more than $90,000 in repairs.
AD2 Pabbie Perez HSL-37 Det. 2
While doing a 14/28-day special inspection on an SH-60B, Petty Officer Perez felt a sharp point protruding through the protective lagging on the compressor bleed-air line of the No. 2 Engine. A closer look revealed a half-inch crack and depression in the line. He immediately notified the detachment maintenance chief, downing the aircraft until the line was replaced.
Petty Officer Perez showed keen attention-to-detail and extra effort that prevented a serious in-flight engine problem.
AMAN John Alba HS-2
With sunset fast approaching, the flight crew was pressed for time to complete an FCF Falcon 611 just had returned from one of many FCF flights it had flown that day and was shut down to make rotor-head adjustments. Airman Alba was a troubleshooter, and he noticed a fastener for the tail-gearbox cowling had popped. He tried to tighten the fastener, but a closer look revealed the anchor nut was missing. He removed the cowling and found the anchor nut lodged between the spring capsule and flight-control cable. This FOD could have caused control problems, possibly causing a mishap.
LCpl. Jan Archie Aporongao VMFA(AW)-225
Lance Corporal Aporongao was doing a daily inspection on an FA-18D when he noticed the brake wear indicator on the right main landing gear was worn beyond acceptable limits. He immediately downed the aircraft, and it was taken off the flight schedule.
Upon removing of the tire and wheel, shop personnel discovered that the brake had not worn down; it had shattered, leaving multiple pieces of the brake loose inside the wheel assembly. Had LCpl. Aporongao not been so thorough in his inspection, a mishap clearly would have occurred.
AD2 Christian Davis VAW-121
Assigned to repair a fire-light discrepancy on the port engine, Petty Officer Davis noticed a broken insulating Micarta block on the aft inboard segment of the engine. Further inspection revealed several loose clamps and missing hardware.
Petty Officer Davis' thorough inspection and prompt notification of the discrepancy led to removal of the port engine and discovery of several more discrepancies, including a pinched fire-warning element and loose vent-seal line.
AM3 Robert Shultz HSL-37 Det. 2
While troubleshooting a tail-wheel-lockpin discrepancy on an SH-60B, Petty Officer Shultz noticed excessive fluid around the top of the shock strut on the tail landing gear. He also noticed the packing was unseated and was working its way out of the tail strut.
Petty Officer Shultz paid attention and used the 18-inch rule to find a hazardous and potentially catastrophic condition.
AD2(AW) Tyson Brown HSL-48 Det. 7
While troubleshooting a fuel selector-valve discrepancy on Venom 511, he noticed a nut on the aft bridge that appeared loose. Closer investigation determined that the port, aft bridge support had backed off. Had this situation gone undetected, the bolt could have fallen out, resulting in a loss of aircraft control.
On the helo's final QA inspection, Petty Officer Brown also noticed a cracked lower bushing on the lockpin-fitting assembly for the tail pylon.
AR Crystal Robles VAQ-130
Airman Recruit Robles prevented an incident that could have seriously damaged equipment and cost lives. She was working in the line division, refueling a Zapper aircraft at NAS Fallon, Nev., when she suddenly discovered the refueling truck was operating at 80 psi. The NATOPs states the maximum fueling rate is 55 psi. The newly qualified truck operator was confused, so Airman Recruit Robles jumped in, preventing over-pressurization, a chimney buckle, or worse.
Her keen attention to detail and prompt action is what you'd expect from a more senior and experienced plane captain.
AE3 Robert Boswell VFA-195
Petty Officer Boswell was troubleshooting a complex pressurization and ECS-flow discrepancy on Chippy 401. He was doing an in-depth inspection of a wire bundle in the aircraft belly, near the ECS turbine, when he discovered a splice point, internal to the bundle, had melted. He repaired the splice point, and the ECS discrepancy checked good during aircraft ground turns and in flight.
Petty Officer Boswell's thorough troubleshooting techniques and diligent work practices returned a valuable fleet asset to service quickly and efficiently. He clearly prevented a potentially catastrophic problem with cabin-pressurization.
AT2(AW) Brian Burney HSL-37
While working on a daily-and-turnaround inspection on an SH-60B, Petty Officer Burney discovered the first-stage hydraulic line, which leads to the tail-rotor servo, chaffing against the airframe in the tail section of the aircraft. He immediately notified maintenance control, and wrote a downing discrepancy. The first-stage hydraulic line was removed and replaced.
Petty Officer Burney was pivotal in breaking a mishap chain of events that could have led to the loss of tail-rotor control.
AMAN Jonathan Harris HSL-48 Det.
During work-ups on board USS Hue City (CG-66), the night shift flight-deck director, Airman Harris, noticed the ship start a turn. This movement was a problem because the aircraft was in a "straightening evolution." He quickly informed the LSO, stopped the task, and secured the aircraft. Seconds later, the ship took a heavy roll, and the bridge confirmed they were turning (with an amber deck).
Had it not been for Airman Harris' alertness and safety attitude, this simple task may have resulted in aircraft damage or worse.
AM2(AW) Michelle Reynolds HSM-41
Petty Officer Reynolds was a troubleshooter on a routine hot seat of Island Ruler 17. During the crew swap, she noticed unusual sounds and vibrations coming from the SH-60B's tail rotor. Recognizing the seriousness of the situation, she immediately told the PC to shut down the engines.
QARs inspected the aircraft and found seven of 16 outboard retention-plate bolts had backed off torque. Petty Officer Reynolds' assertiveness and keen attention to detail averted an imminent and catastrophic tail-rotor failure.
AD2 Micheal Sabia HSL-37 Det.
During a phase "D" inspection on an SH-60B, Petty Officer Sabia found a small crack in the spherical bearing of the blue blade spindle, using just a penlight and magnifying glass. He immediately told the detachment's maintenance control and downed the aircraft. Further inspection revealed several of the metal strips inside the spherical bearing were cracked and de-laminated, rendering the bearing unserviceable.
ADAN Justin Atchley VAQ-137
During a troubleshooter walk-around inspection of Rook 501 with a new trainee, Airman Atchley found a problem with the heat shield while closely inspecting the ram-air scoop. A sizable hole was in the heat shield. He immediately notified maintenance control, and the aircraft was repaired in time for the next launch.
Although not a published procedure, Airman Atchley's meticulous inspection, thorough work ethic, and detailed training steps led to his timely discovery.
AO1(AW) Javier Adames HSL-42 Det. 3
On a daily inspection of Proud Warrior 432, Petty Officer Adames used the 18-inch rule while inspecting the transmission oil-cooler access. He found a cracked B-nut in an obstructed location on the underside of the No. 2 engine's fuel-selector line--a good find in a tough area. He told the lead mech and immediately downed the aircraft. A subsequent inspection revealed another cracked B-nut on the No. 1 engine's fuel-selector line.
Petty Officer Adames' keen eye found a possible fuel-system malfunction in an area outside his normal duties, preventing a potentially catastrophic outcome.