Posts tagged ‘c-5’

Work randomness

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SSgt Garcia, Airframes

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Progress to be made

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Birds’ eye view

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This green container and concrete barrier is essentially the Flightline shop

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Flightline about to leave work

One build-up at a time

The first week of hectic maintenance brought with it a good introduction to fixing planes in the humid conditions coupled with the lack of logistical support. I felt as if we were better equipped in the remote wasteland of Afghanistan than we are in Okinawa, at an air station that has had helicopters for decades. The simple explanation is — the base was not ready for us: no hangar, scavenging support equipment, and almost everyone spending the entire day outside. I would be tempted to say I’d choose Afghanistan any day over this, as far as working conditions went.

We went ahead anyway and charged headfirst into rebuilding the first helicopter after it stood ‘broken down’ after C-5 transport.

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Note the rolled up sleeves, everybody is trying to get their tan on

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Disorganized disarray of a mess

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Our neighbors on the flight line to the north; CH-46’s (HMM-262 “Flying Tigers”) and C-130’s (VMGR-152 “Sumos”)

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Okinawa at last

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and East China Sea lies the island of Okinawa. The tropical Japanese Isle is more than 400 miles from the southernmost part of mainland Japan. The similarity I gradually noticed here is that Okinawa is to Japan as Hawaii or Puerto Rico is to the U.S. These two islands — while definitely still America — have their own distinct flavor and island people’s culture. Okinawa admittedly is not as modern and flashy as the rest of Japan, it is kind of like the neglected stepchild despite the huge numbers of tourists from mainland Japan that are visible everywhere.
After 11 or so days, I finally arrived. The humid air assaulted me the moment I stepped off the C-5 into the open air. Flashbacks to Hawaii have been frequent with both the weather and scenery, though Okinawa definitely wins in a contest over which island is hotter. Within a minute or two, it is possible to go from bone dry clothing to completely soaked.
Now that I’ve caught up to when I first got here, I have a lot of work to do to fill in the gaps in the two months since.

Okinawa

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California

While also sunny and warm, this wasn’t quite our final destination of Okinawa. The photos presented here depict how we had to unload our two CH-53’s out of the Air Force plane since it was “broken”. Shortly after the three hour offload was completed, they were magically fixed and headed back to Texas the next day. We spent 4 full days in Northern California just outside of Travis Air Force base. The eight of us were mostly relegated to staying at the hotel since we did not have a vehicle. On one day when we didn’t have to go to the base at all, Longbine and I took a train to San Francisco. We didn’t really know where to go, so our site seeing was limited to long walks up the steep streets with stops at 5 or 6 bars during the day. I had to talk him in to at least walking past Chinatown so I could catch a glimpse of it.

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Offloading the Main Gearbox with attached Rotor Head

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Close up of a tie-down chain

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Enjoy the oil we spilt…suckers

The Odyssey

After 5 days we finally left Alaska, including one aborted flight the day before when we had to turn around in flight after 20 minutes. Our little group was more than ready to leave the area after so many days stuck in base lodging and hotel rooms in Anchorage. During our 2nd day here, the main body of our squadron det with 70 people came, spent less that a day here, and left. We enjoyed ourselves at many of Anchorage’s bars, and I left a record of our presence by slapping many an HMH-772 sticker around town, but I wanted to get to Okinawa.

Unfortunately, this was not to be the case. The Air Force C-5 still had lingering issues so the crew decided to fly south to Travis Air Force Base, California, to get better support.

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F-22 flyby

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…waiting…

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Boarding the C-5

 

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