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Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

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Cherry Point, North Carolina
Squadrons cross-train with Boeing

By Lance Cpl. Grace Waladkewics | Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point | June 19, 2014

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Boeing field service representatives answer questions and assist Marines with maintenance on the wing of an AV-8B Harrier inside the Marine Attack Squadron 542 hangar. Boeing FSRs act as mentors to Marines in areas like avionics, airframes, power line, crew safety systems and supply.

Boeing field service representatives answer questions and assist Marines with maintenance on the wing of an AV-8B Harrier inside the Marine Attack Squadron 542 hangar. Boeing FSRs act as mentors to Marines in areas like avionics, airframes, power line, crew safety systems and supply. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Grace Waladkewics )


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Two aviation electricians work on the top of the wing on an AV-8B Harrier while two Boeing field service representatives work on the underside of the wing during routine maintenance on the bird in the Marine Attack Squadron 542 hangar. Boeing FSRs act as mentors to Marines in areas like avionics, airframes, power line, crew safety systems and supply.

Two aviation electricians work on the top of the wing on an AV-8B Harrier while two Boeing field service representatives work on the underside of the wing during routine maintenance on the bird in the Marine Attack Squadron 542 hangar. Boeing FSRs act as mentors to Marines in areas like avionics, airframes, power line, crew safety systems and supply. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Grace Waladkewics )


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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Members of Marine Attack Squadron 542 and various other squadrons with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing continue to work closely with field service representatives from Boeing in an attempt to arm the Marines with a larger set of skills and a wider knowledge base.

The mission of 2nd MAW is to conduct air operations in offensive air support, anti-air warfare, assault support, aerial reconnaissance, electronic warfare and control of aircraft and missiles.

The Marine Corps has recruited hundreds of experts from Boeing to act as mentors and support squadrons here and while deployed in order to effectively complete the mission.

The mentors work with Marines in the Harrier squadrons in various ways. They mentor personnel in avionics, airframes, power lines, crew safety systems and supply.

Boeing is the leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. Their products include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training.

“As mentors, we take on the task of being the knowledgeable, senior leadership in the hangar,” said Michael Forbes, a Boeing AV-8B Harrier field service representative. “We teach the young Marines as much as we can about every part of the aircraft. We work so well with the Marines in the squadron here because all of the FSR’s with Boeing are prior service members.”

FSR’s are selected based upon their experience and knowledge of the complexities of the aircraft.

“We act as the liaison between the aircraft engineers and the Marines,” said Forbes. “The Marine Corps takes educating their Marines very seriously. At times the younger Marines may not be performing up to their full potential, because of the limited number of people available to teach them. To combat this, we have been brought in to fill the senior leadership role and allow the Marines to ask questions and learn to help achieve that wide knowledge base they want.”

The representatives bring with them a complete expertise of service engineering specialties. The more than 300 representatives are spread across 183 bases and focus on efficiently preventing and resolving in-service technical difficulties, providing access to technical information and offering advice and help toward the maintenance of the Boeing-built aircraft.

“I really feel like the mentor-mentee relationship we have with the guys from Boeing has been extremely beneficial to me,” said Cpl. Jarred Holman. “They have such a vast amount of knowledge and experience that none of us here have. We should all try to learn as much as we can from them so we will have the knowledge to share with our junior Marines down the road.”

Holman is an aviation electrician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 14 who normally fixes panels, control stick batteries and generators for AV-8B Harriers. He said since he started working with VMA-542 and FRS, he has learned the ins-and-outs of the equipment he usually repairs.

He also learned how panels control work within cockpit of the aircraft and what each panel and all the different controls are used for, what they do and where everything is located.

Although the demand for maintaining and fixing aircraft stays the same, Holman said. It is nice to have the extra hands and pointers from the Boeing mentors. Having the extra help makes the process of locating, assessing and fixing problems go a lot faster.

“My favorite part about my job is knowing that the stuff we fix enables the aircraft to fly, which enables the Marines to do their jobs,” said Holman. “Not many people can say they are a part of something that big, it’s a great feeling.”


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