Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Sarmed Shafi,a Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 airframes maintenance technician, removes a hydraulic fitting while aboard aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, Sept. 1. The Thunderbolts flew an excess of 1,100 hours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom during the review period for the Golden Wrench.

Photo by Cpl. Rubin J. Tan

Thunderbolts receive Golden Wrench award

27 Sep 2012 | Cpl. Rubin J. Tan


USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea – The Thunderbolts of Marine Fighter At­tack Squadron 251 were awarded the “Golden Wrench Award” while embarked aboard the USS Enterprise.

The award is given ever y two months to acknowledge a squad­ron maintenance de­partment whose per­formance is impeccable while safely maintaining mission-ready aircraft.

Navy Capt. Rober t Boyer, Carrier Air Wing 1 [CVW-1] commander aboard the Enterprise, presented the squad­ron the award for their performance in aircraft maintenance during July and August.

During the evaluation period, the squadron was also reviewed for cleanliness of mainte­nance areas, accuracy of maintenance logs, maintenance practices and other criteria set by CVW-1.

While the Golden Wrench Award is not available in all carrier air wings, it is seen as a great achievement with­in CVW-The award serves to highlight the hard work and dedica­tion of those Sailors and Marines who work be­hind the scenes keeping aircraft mission-ready.

“Our mission is to not create competiveness, but to evaluate the steps a squadron makes to be­come mission ready and effective,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth San­chez, the Maintenance Officer for CVW-1.

However, many of the Marines of VMFA-251 credit teamwork as be­ing the driving force that earned them the award.

“If we don’t work as a team we would never accomplish the mission at hand, which is why it is important to teach new Marines teamwork star ting from day one,” said Master Sgt. Aaron Bense, the maintenance material control chief for VMFA-251 and a na­tive of Woodbine, Ga.

Although much of the maintenance can be te­dious and demanding, it is an essential element in ensuring the air wing is poised to complete the mission at hand.

“[The Squadron’s] professionalism, knowl­edge, sacrifice and willingness to do main­tenance by the book and right the first time has earned us the title of best maintenance department in the air wing,” said Lt. Col. Si­mon Doran, the com­manding officer of VMFA-251 and native of Liverpool, England. “The hard work from our Marines continues to give the squadron great jets that are mak­ing a difference for the Marines and coalition ground forces.”

During the previ­ous cycle, the Golden Wrench was awarded to the Checkmates of Strike Fighter Squad­ron 211.

The Thunderbolts flew more than 1,100 hours during the two-month evaluation period in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.