Photo Information

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Bryan J. VillaSeƱor, an airframe mechanic with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, installs a strut during an inspection of a U.S. Marine MV-22 Osprey aboard the USS New Orleans, at sea, Feb. 24, 2016. All the components of the ship are inspected and kept up to date with a wide variety of inspections and tests. More than 4,500 Sailors and Marines from the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit team are currently transiting the Pacific Ocean toward the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations during a scheduled deployment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alvin Pujols/RELEASED)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Alvin Pujols

Who run the birds?: Maintainers

29 Feb 2016 | Lance Cpl. Alvin Pujols 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Thousands of components come together to make an aircraft fly. The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit has Marines and Sailors who are trained to keep each part not only in working condition, but also up to standard.

As the morning fog rolled off of the USS New Orleans (LPD-18), Marines and Sailors with 13th MEU prepared for a seven-day inspection of their MV-22 Ospreys on Feb. 24, 2016.

There are three sections that prepare the aircraft for its inspection.

“The flight line works with dynamic components such as blades, engines and gearboxes,” said U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Michael E. Shuster, a collateral duty inspector with the 13th MEU. “The airframe section keeps the structure and hydraulic components up-to-date and the avionics section works with the electrical components.”

The seven-day inspection isn’t the only inspection conducted on the aircraft.

“We also conduct 28 and 56 day inspections, on top of 72 and 96 hour inspections,” said Sgt. Michael S. Quigley, a quality assurance inspector with the 13th MEU.

Because these Marines keep track of when components of the aircraft must be replaced, when the next inspection period will be and many more checks and balances required for the maintenance of the aircraft, the MV-22B has emerged as a safe and reliable aircraft with 242 operating around the globe today.

“High time components run on how many flight hours the aircraft has,” said Quigley. “An emergency window, for example, is good for five years before it must be replaced.”

As the Marines conduct their maintenance today, they will be inspected tomorrow to ensure, when it’s time to fly, the aircraft is safe and up to standards. The coordinated individual efforts of each Marine contribute to a successful team and, in the end, accomplish the mission.

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