USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea --
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.