Co-authored by Petty Officer 3rd Class Seth Johnson, 11th Coast Guard District public affairs.
Coast Guard aircrews often perform their duties behind the scenes, in an air station’s hangar, or in the cabin of a helicopter preparing a to hoist a survivor. But while many of their duties go unseen, they had the opportunity to take center stage at the AMT Society’s Aviation Maintenance Skills Competition.
Five members of the U.S. Coast Guard’s aviation community took part in the competition which gave those in the aircraft maintenance field – whether it is in industry or the military – the opportunity to test their abilities and teamwork against those of their peers.
The team’s skills were put to the test as they spent their days running a gauntlet of timed tasks highlighting their competency at working on aircraft. After all their tests were aced, all their tasks completed and every nut and bolt was secured, the Coast Guard team came out on top, winning first place in the military category of the competition.
The first place team was comprised of Master Chief Petty Officer Gerald Leach, Petty Officers 1st Class Jim Fielder and Jacob Linder and Petty Officers 2nd Class Christopher Novak and Petty Officer 2nd Class Josh Barrio.
Unlike many of the teams who compete, the Coast Guard team was meeting for the first time. The competitors came from different air stations and locations around the country but because of the service’s aircraft standardization program, their proficiency and training in their trade shone through.
“We couldn’t have hoped to have gathered a better team,” said Linder, an aviation maintenance technician based out of Air Station Humboldt Bay. “This entire group is so well rounded – they’re some of the best guys I’ve worked with.”
Working their way through an aircraft power-troubleshooting event they had to identify faults in an aviation power distribution system. Other tasks saw the competitors replacing auxiliary power units and inspecting aircraft system diagrams in search of a “discrepancy. The team even installed a thrust reverser onto a massive jet engine. If these tasks sound complicated and difficult, that’s because they are.
“Luckily the training we have received in the Coast Guard as AMTs and AETs has given us a much broader range of aircraft knowledge than the other services because we do not ‘specialize’ like they do,” said Linder. “We also fix what we fly in so our attention to detail and focus tends to be much more acute.”
The competition wasn’t just manual labor however, as the aviation mechanics had to put pen to paper in a written knowledge test honoring an “early bird” of aviation – Charles E. Taylor, the mechanic and engineer for Wilbur and Orville Wright.
“It does feel great that we were able to win the whole competition with such a great score, but we really weren’t doing anything more then what we do every day out on the hanger deck,” said Barrio, an avionics electrical technician based out of San Diego. “We came out here and did the best we could with what the Coast Guard had taught us, and that was to do the job right in a timely manner.”