Photo Information

Cpl. Tyler Caldwell, left, and Lance Cpl. Christopher Carter work together to rig a main landing gear forward door underneath an EA-6B Prowler inside the Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 hangar July 15, 2014. Carter and Caldwell are both airframes mechanics with the squadron.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics

VMAQ-2 maintains safety, squadron readiness

23 Jul 2014 | Lance Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics

Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 is an EA-6B Prowler squadron stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. The EA-6B Prowler is a specialized aircraft that requires dozens of Marines from 10 different sections within the squadron, each doing their part, to keep the aircraft ready to fly at all times.

The squadron, also known as the “Death Jesters,” conducts airborne electronic warfare in support of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force, suppressing enemy radar and surface-to-air missiles with electronic jamming and high speed anti-radar missiles.

The squadron’s mission is dependent on the Marines who keep their aircraft in the air, according to Cpl. Daniel Robinson, an aviation electrician with VMAQ-2.

“We are responsible for troubleshooting electrical problems within the jet,” said Robinson. “We pinpoint the fault, fix the fault, which in turn produces an aircraft that is safe for flight and allows our air crew to train for missions that may arise in the future.”

Electronics are part of every modern and developing military across the globe. The Marines with VMAQ-2 train to perfect their skills and enhance their knowledge in order to obtain superior electronic capabilities to ensure electronic warfare superiority during operations.

“The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing mission in readiness is our charge,” said Sgt. Kaje Conklin, an airframes mechanic with VMAQ-2. “We maintain high standards for the Marines of this squadron, so when the time comes, they have all the training they need to maintain the aircraft and get it back up and running as quickly as possible.”

Airframe mechanics are responsible for ensuring the structural integrity of the aircraft, explained Conklin. The squadron’s mechanics sample fluids, patch and repair panels and maintain landing gear. Maintenance is imperative to ensure flight safety, according to Conklin.

The squadron’s powerline mechanics are often referred to as the backbone of the squadron. They are responsible for inspecting, fueling and directing aircraft prior to flight. The powerline mechanics coordinate with each section within the squadron to ensure the prowlers are mission ready.

“Powerline mechanics interact with all the other shops within the squadron because we have a qualification which allows us to inspect aircraft,” said Sgt. Jon Nause, work center supervisor of the powerline section with VMAQ-2. “It is our job to properly inspect each part to ensure safety.”

Powerline mechanics perform scheduled, unscheduled and periodic inspections of aircraft systems and components to troubleshoot and identify needed repairs.

Each section within the squadron focuses on safety, according to Nause. Every section has safety representatives and several Marines serve as collateral duty inspectors. CDIs are responsible for inspecting the work of other Marines and ensuring that there are no maintenance oversights.

“Every shop has their own responsibilities with the aircraft, but we are all working toward the same mission within 2nd MAW,” said Nause. “Training and repetition within the squadron are essential to learning and advancing. The Marines of VMAQ-2 have a challenging job at times, but I think we all learn something new from each other every day.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point