My first “real” Helicopter after several months of training , was the Seasprite H-2 , The engine cowlings / covers were just light enough to protect the engines , and opened upward so we had to balance (Which was even more of a challenge when we were at sea , but thats a whole different blog…!) We had to leave our tool boxes on the ground! The Cowlings were not strong enough to stand on , so most other helicopters could support maintenance folks , and their tool boxes on the engine cowlings , to work on the engine. Most electrical components were in and around the turbo jet shaft engines, so we had to wait for them to cool down after flight.
The H-2 was used @ Sea as a submarine hunter , and various other missions , usually on a smaller ship , and closer to the ocean , so salt spray was very corrosive to the aircraft.
My next cruise while at HSL-35 in San Diego , was on the USS-Lockwood( FF-1064), a frigate in the carrier group . It had 2 small hangars , as they were outfitted for 2 H-60 helicopters , and since we were an H-2 we just 1 helicopter , deployed for a 9 month western pacific cruise . The extra hangar was used for storage , but since we were just visitors the ships company had first dibs on the space! The ship had a small berthing area just behind the small hangar , and it is usually used for nicer things , so it had several bunk beds , and its very own bathroom , we had always had to share them with others , so this was big deal! Not only was it a luxury , but closer for us to get to the hangar too! Our tiny hangar was just big enough for our Helicopter , and spare parts were also stored in cages near the helicopter.
More next time…
This is a true story , not some April fools joke! After basic training , I went to N.A.T.T.C. (Naval Air Technical Training Command)Millington Tennessee @NAS Memphis to learn the basics as an Aviation Electrician in 1983. Several years later I was sent there for an advanced avionics school , and after the 9 week course was complete , I got orders to the basic AE school as an instuctor on the same base , the 2 Years there were great , And I later served with 2 of the Unnamed(to protect their ID, and prevent any law suits?) sailors in my class , so what better way to evaluate just how well I taught them. Not only did they both work at the same squadron , But both of them went to the middle east with me too , so even the vast world can be even small too?
This is a tribute of sorts , as both ships I served on are no more! The USS Merrill (DD 976) was decommissioned several years ago , and was used as target practice for other naval ships in the pacific area , before being sunk as an artificial reef off Hawaii! And the USS Lockwood(FF 1064) was decommissioned several years ago too , and was scrapped for the metal, so the legacy will live on , 1 ship gave other ships metal to use in building other USS’s , and the other 1will live on in helping other USS’s have a more accurate shot!
This is an abbreviated DD , spring baseball kind of gets top billing?
On The USS-Merrill(DD-976)we deployed from San Diego , the destroyer was in a Carrier Battle Group , it had a tiny Flight deck for the H-2 Helicopter , And as Ive Posted before The Rough seas were rather harsh on the small ship (we could almost hear the folks on the larger ships wondering where we went in the rolling seas , now they’re back! )In Foul weather the Kitchen was closed , which was good for us , as food didn’t sound too good anyway! If the seas were somewhat rough we were able to walk to the mess decks for cold cuts , and when the seas were even rougher we stayed in our small hangar and had someone bring us the paper plates and the cold cuts for us . We kept the helicopter chained down always , but even more when the seas were rough . And on smooth days we left it out in the sunshine , But when mother nature came calling (which was rare in the south pacific) we kept it in the safety of the small hangar , away from the corrosive salt spray. And when the seas were rough we were rather sure to keep it secured at all times so moving it to and from the flight deck had to be done carefully , we used the tie down chains (which were like come along chains) to sort of inch the helicopter a little at a time , to keep it secured to the ship
Just noticed I missed 68 , so this is 70 , but can be 68 if you like?
Life in San Diego in the 1984 while I was an aviation electrician on The H-2 Helicopters @NAS Northland was much like 2 different climates. While the weather in San Diego was mild , A short drive to the mountains to temporarily see the snow , without the daily hassle of the ice! Being a Floridian I was no fan of the cold , but savored the fact that I could just see the snow for a short time , then get home to the warmth! What a convenience ! Getting home to Coronado and changing back to shorts was good too!
Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist
The Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) insignia is a military badge of the United States Navy which was created in March 1980. The insignia recognizes those members of the Navy’s enlisted force who have acquired the specific professional skills, knowledge, and military experience that result in qualification for service in the aviation activities of the Navy. This includes most personnel who are trained flight deck personnel onboard aircraft carriers, or maintenance personnel at an Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment or Department or aircraft squadron.
1 Prerequisite for EAWS
2 Qualification process
3 See also
Prerequisite for EAWS
The basic prerequisite for the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia is that a service member be assigned in a sea-duty status to a deployable naval aviation unit or aviation capable ship. Most service members earning this insignia hold an enlisted rating designated in aviation (though a non-aviation rating is still eligible), or a support rating; in the 21st century Navy the ratings that are eligible include:
AB: Aviation Boatswain’s Mate
AC: Air Traffic Controller
AD: Aviation Machinist’s Mate
AE: Aviation Electrician’s Mate
AG: Aerographer’s Mate
AM: Aviation Structural Mechanic
AME: Aviation Structural Mechanic Safety Equipmentman
AO: Aviation Ordnanceman (IYAOYAS)
AS: Aviation Support Equipment Technician
AT: Aviation Electronics Technician
AWF: Naval Aircrewman (Mechanical)
AWO: Naval Aircrewman (Operator)
AWR: Naval Aircrewman (Tactical)
AWS: Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter)
AWV: Naval Aircrewman (Avionics)
AZ: Aviation Maintenance Administrationman
BM: Boatswain’s Mate
CS: Culinary Specialist
CT: Cryptologic Technician
ET: Electronics Technician
FC: Fire Controlman
GM: Gunner’s Mate
HM: Hospital Corpsman
IC: Interior Communications Electrician
LS: Logistics Specialist
IS: Intelligence Specialist
IT: Information Systems Technician
MC: Mass Communication Specialist
NC: Navy Counselor
OS: Operations Specialist
PR: Aircrew Survival Equipmentman
PS: Personnel Specialist
SH: Ship’s Serviceman
The non-designated striker rates[jargon] of Airman, Airman Apprentice, and Airman Recruit are also eligible to receive the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia. However, due to the time involved in the qualification procedure, most service members obtain at least a Petty Officer Third Class rating before earning the EAWS insignia. Sailors outside the aviation community are eligible to attain EAWS designation; however they must first complete the warfare specialist qualification for their community.
The qualification process to obtain the insignia begins with the Enlisted Aviation Personal Qualification Standards, also known as PQS. There are two PQS for the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia. The first is the Common Core which consists of concepts, policies, and tasks that are common throughout Naval aviation and provide a foundation for the sailor’s knowledge. The second is a platform-specific PQS which consists of several training tasks and other practical experience on-the-job exercises relevant to the particular aviation community the sailor is currently serving in, for example an F/A-18 squadron or a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The entire Enlisted Aviation PQS normally takes approximately one year to complete from the point of entering the enlisted aviation community though it can be completed much earlier with much dedication and effort.
Those completing the Enlisted Aviation PQS must then pass a written examination and a review board conducted by senior enlisted aviation personnel, normally the rank of Chief Petty Officer or above. Upon passing both the examination and the oral board, the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia may be presented. The sailor is then authorized to add the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist designator (AW) after his or her rate.
Upon transfer to the sailor’s next aviation command, he or she is required to complete an abbreviated re-qualification process to familiarize the sailor with the differences between various aviation platforms. This process must be completed within 12 months of reporting aboard or the sailor loses the right to wear the EAWS insignia.
The Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia is not required for continued advancement in the Navy, however for those in aviation rates the insignia must be obtained by three years as a Petty Officer Second Class. Those failing to obtain the insignia may be ineligible for advancement to Petty Officer First Class, reenlistment in their current rate or may be restricted to shore assignments.
The Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia is considered one of three primary warfare badges available to the Navy’s enlisted force. The other two aforementioned badges are the Enlisted Submarine Warfare Badge and the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Badge. The gold Aircrew Badge or Naval Aircrew Wings (NAC) are a similar badge available to select enlisted personnel of the U.S. Navy aviation community. NAC are authorized for personnel who have undergone extensive training in flight operations of naval aircraft. Such training includes weapons management, electronic warfare, and water survival. Contrary to most other services, naval aircrewmen do not receive their wings after aircrew school. Rather, they receive their wings only after completing their platform respective Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) (roughly 1 year past the completion of training).
The Aircrew Badge is a separate badge from the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist Badge, and qualified service members are eligible to wear both badges simultaneously. Additionally the Fleet Marine Force Insignia is reserved for Hospital Corpsmen and Religious Program Specialists assigned to Marine Corps units. Sailors receiving this designator are authorized to wear it above any other designator while assigned to FMF units.
Back to pre-naval-days. After high school in 1981 I had several jobs (some better than others!)until 1983 when I enlisted in the Navy. Since the Military contract was “delayed entry” I was still an assistant manager @ burger king for the 9 months until I traveled to Orlando RTC(recruit training command). I rode a greyhound bus and Amtrak to get there , and then spent a few weeks getting ready for my training to begin when there was enough of us to fill up the class , so in the time we waited we were tested , vaccinated , and got a shaved head . So when we formed our class we had plenty of “Practice?” for what was to come
This blog is a break of sorts from the usual Military stuff. This just a test of sorts , to share one of our many newport news Virginia stories. One Saturday Chris and I were doing our routine errands when we saw a sign for a Nissan expo at the Hampton Colosseum , we stopped in just to check it out , and ended up buying a new car , which is quite a step up for us ,our Suzuki Swift was rather small , just 2 door , and stick shift , which was good enough for us , so getting a new Altima , was different for sure, 4 door A/C and Automatic was great , and cruise control was a nice change too! Wow what a welcomed change!
Next blog will get back to the Naval stuff , so in Military terms , carry on!