That others may live

by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen, 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --  Team members move seamlessly throughout an inspection; the sounds of machinery whirring, tools clanking and clipboards clinking can be heard throughout the hangar. Everyone moving in the right place at the right time as one unit.

The 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit recently completed a 300-hour inspection, one which is done for every 300 hours of flight, June 14.

This inspection is one of many the unit performs to ensure peak performance of the HH-60G Pave Hawk.

“At peak efficiency, it can fly up to 140 knots and the ceiling (the highest it can fly efficiently) is almost 10,000 feet,” said Staff Sgt. Kyler Jackson, 33rd HMU electrical and environmental systems specialist. “Every scheduled inspection we have to do, along with the 300-hour inspection, we go over the entire aircraft and make sure every nut, every piece of safety wire, every cauter pin, everything is tight, to make sure this is as stable as it can be.”

The maintenance teams ensure the Pave Hawk can perform all of its different missions.
“In missions such as downed aircraft, we rescue those in need and bring them back for medical aid,” said Jackson. “Local rescue missions around Okinawa can include rescuing people on boats or stranded somewhere far off. Humanitarian missions can involve personnel recovery.”

To ensure lives can be saved and missions can be completed, peak maintenance is critical to the HH-60.

“What we do to help others out and that others may live is really our motto,” said Jackson. “The quality work we do to maintain this aircraft pays off in the end; someone will be helped or rescued and I think it’s pretty awesome.”

Maintainers like Jackson and Airman Shawn Ribbens, 33rd HMU crew chief, enable the success of the Pave Hawk’s mission by keeping the aircraft ready to fly 24/7. As a crew chief, Ribbens maintains the Pave Hawk, including everything from towing, washing, launching and recovering.

“It’s important to stay on top of your training so you are prepared to perform your mission at any time,” Ribbens commented. “Contingency operations can pop off at any time.”

It’s this drive for making real world operations a success which makes Ribbens’ maintenance worthwhile.

“When I see the aircraft come back after a successful training operation or a real-world operation, I feel pride in knowing I played a part in the capability of the aircraft to accomplish the mission effectively and potentially save lives.”

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