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T-bolts strike Enterprise

By Lance Cpl. Katina J. Johnson | | November 4, 2005

Marines and sailors from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 departed the Air Station to embark upon the USS Enterprise for a one-month training mission Oct. 27.

More than 174 Marines and sailors from VMFA-251, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, Marine Aircraft Group 31 and Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 joined forces to carry out the training exercise.

“When we leave, we will be training with crew members of the USS Enterprise,” said 1st Lt. Jay Zarra, a pilot for VMFA (AW)-251.

The training mission is one of two mini-deployments the squadron will participate in to prepare them for an upcoming six-month deployment aboard the Enterprise in spring of next year.

While aboard the boat for the training mission, the Marines will be performing day and night exercises to familiarize them with the crew and schedule of the aircraft carrier, according to Zarra.

“Not every Marine and sailor has experience with working on a boat,” Zarra said. “When we go this time we need to make sure that everything and everybody knows how to work together.”

The second mini-deployment for the Thunderbolts will be to Naval Air Station Fallon in Fallon, Nev.,  during February of 2006.

“We are looking forward to Fallon as our last chance to practice various flight plans and maintenance schedules before we go to the boat,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Johnson, an ordnance technician for VMFA-251.

When the Thunderbolts leave the Air Station in 2006 for their six-month deployment they will be attached to Carrier Air Wing One.

“It’s a routine deployment,” said Cpl. Kenneth Garcia, an ordnance technician for VMFA-251. “We’ve done a lot of Field Carrier Landing Practices and spent a lot of time learning about the boat. I’m not worried, the T-Bolts are going to step up to the challenge as always.”