USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea --
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.”