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Jet Shop: Repairing aircraft engines

By Cpl. Rubin J. Tan | | June 7, 2012

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USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea – A Marine works in the bowels of a rocking aircraft carrier the fruits of his labors will soon cause a jet engine to roar to life.

 His name is Cpl. Wil­liam Gillespie, a Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 F/A-18 Hornet power plant mechanic.

Gillespie currently works in the carrier’s jet shop where he is the only Marine who working with Sailors to complete inter­mediate power plant main­tenance. Maintainers at this level repair all engine modules that combine to form a jet engine.

 “The Marines are the only ones on board flying Hornets, so I feel a sense of pride when I get the opportunity to work on one of our engines,” said Gillespie.

 The hard work of the Columbus, Ohio, native and other power plant me­chanics aboard allow air­craft aboard to complete their mission of providing close air support for mari­time security operations and Operation Enduring Freedom.

 Gillespie is temporarily as­signed to VMFA-251 from his original command, Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic aboard Naval Air Station Oceana in Vir­ginia Beach, Va.

 At Oceana, Gillespie only works on the afterburner portion of the Hornet’s engine as the collateral duty inspector. His role is to ensure all afterburner maintenance work is done properly and safely.

 Naval Air Station Ocea­na, Va, is responsible for building and repairing East Coast Navy and Ma­rine Corps jet engines

 Gillespie participated in the Thunderbolts’ previ­ous deployment aboard Enterprise in 2011 as a power line mechanic and plane captain, who per­formed safe-for-flight in­spections and operational level engine maintenance outside of his own military occupational specialty.

 “I volunteered both times I deployed with the T’bolts because it gives me the chance to work on something new,” said Gillespie. “While on En­terprise, I get to work on Super Hornet engines and I also get the chance to work with all modules in the Hornet engine.”


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