MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
At Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, arresting gear isn’t sirens and handcuffs. It’s a cable system used to bring fast moving jets to a stop in the event of an emergency landing or need for a short landing space.
To ensure the speed impeding safety system is always in a state of readiness Marines with station recovery maintain and operate the E28 Emergency Arresting Gears on the flight line here daily.
As an aircraft, such as an EA-6B Prowler, comes in for an arrested landing, the tail hook, fixed underneath the tail of the plane, catches on a metal woven cable that sits about five inches above the ground, explained Sgt. Chris D. Bentley, maintenance chief for station recovery. Once caught on the cable, it takes an aircraft about 10 seconds or 900 feet to stop.
“These arrest points are designed to act like the landing cable on an aircraft carrier,” said Bentley. “This process takes a lot from us as maintainers.”
The gears use an engine to operate just like a car with several moving parts, all needing regular maintenance, said Bentley.
“We provide the pilots peace of mind while they are flying,” said Lance Cpl. Minh D. Nguyen, a crewman with station recovery. “They know that if their aircraft fails we have the gear to help them land safely.’’
Keeping Marines safe is paramount, and Sgt. Maj. Holly Prafke, sergeant major for Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, said the job done by the station recovery Marines has affected her on a personal level.
“While I was the sergeant major for Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 3, we had a number of pilots and aircraft use the arresting gear,” she said. “These Marines do their job and get very little recognition for what they do.”
The recovery of the aircraft is important, but what is more important is the safety of the crew on board, said Prafke.
“I have seen firsthand what this equipment is capable of and I am very proud of these Marines,” she said.