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Marine wins 'Give Em Hell Hero' Award aboard Truman

By Lance Cpl. Justin V. Eckersley | | June 18, 2004

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A Marine from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 received the “Give ‘Em Hell Hero Award” June 13 for discovering a potentially deadly problem with one of the squadron’s F/A-18 Hornets.

While loading an Identify Friend or Foe monitor in the jet, Lance Cpl. Brandon C. Monday, avionics technician, VMFA-115, conducted a final check of the components in the cockpit.

While  tightening screws and checking panels, he noticed that the mission computer had become loose.

“The mission computer controls the ship,” Monday said. “It’s the brains and the heart of the jet.”

When the computer was originally installed, the technician working on it did not properly fit the unit into a groove, according to Monday. The vibration of the Hornet’s engines eventually knocked it loose.

“I just put it back in right, and tightened down the screws,” Monday said.

Without his careful attention to detail and last-minute inspection, the aircraft could have encountered a major malfunction, which had the potential to injure or kill the pilot of the aircraft and those around it, according to Lt. Col. Peter D. Ponte, executive officer, VMFA-115.

Though Monday did not mention finding the loose unit, witnesses to the event reported it through the chain of command, according to Monday. The Marine was awarded the “Give ‘Em Hell Hero” for the quarter, which was presented to him by Navy Capt. Michael R. Groothousen, commanding officer, USS Harry S. Truman.

“The ‘Give ‘Em Hell Hero Award’ was presented to Lance Cpl. Brandon C. Monday for exemplifying exceptional  character and dedication to duty,” Groothousen said.

“He did a good job,” Ponte said after the ceremony. “The whole squadron’s proud of him for winning that award.”
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