Photo Information

Staff Sgt. Christine Mendenhall, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing refrigeration electrician mechanic inspector from Newark S.C., inspects chain lifts on the wing of an F/A-18 Hornet with Sgt. Tony Yates, Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 hydraulic, pneumatic, structures mechanic from Covington Ky., during an Aviation Logistics Management Assist Team (ALMAT) evaluation aboard the Air Station Sept., 10. The squadron achieved an “on track” rating from the team of experts who examined and graded more than 40 programs within VMFA(AW) 224 and trained Marines on areas needing improvement.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brendan Roethel

Bengals knock out ALMAT evaluation

19 Sep 2013 | Cpl. Timothy Norris

Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224 excelled on the arduous  Aviation Logistics Management Assist Team (ALMAT) evaluation aboard the Air Station, Sept. 10 through the 13.

Experts from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing evaluate squadrons within the MAW on every aviation program, policy and procedure at least once a year or before deployments.

“The inspection allows [2nd MAW] to know how we are performing our jobs and lets us know what we can improve on to better maintain the aircraft and personnel,” said Gunnery Sgt. Shelby Smith, VMFA(AW)-224, quality assurance chief from Stockbridge, Ga.

“It is a stepping stone to ensure that we’re running our programs correctly,” he said. “It allows us to get an outside look to better the process and identify how we can improve across the wing.”

Gunnery Sgt. Robert Brown, a 2nd MAW aviation life support systems trainer, evaluated VMFA(AW)-224 with 13 other experts in their fields. Together they analyzed more than 40 programs to determine if the program was “on track,” “needs attention,” or “off track.”

“We have a mixture of people with many years of knowledge, so we can dig deep,” said Brown, a Virginia Beach, Va., native.

Although the evaluation is extensive and important, Brown said his team’s job was more important than a checklist or a passing grade. 

“The most important thing we do is training,” he said. “When we find something that isn’t being done right, that is when our job truly comes into play. We are here to train and help.” 

After the evaluation, all the discrepancies are used as a syllabus to train the squadron the following day. 

“We will sit down and go over every minute detail of a problem until they feel comfortable with it,” Brown said. “We want to assist the squadrons so their programs go in the right direction. When a program is done right they will reach their objectives safely.”

The ALMAT team remains constantly on call to provide guidance to Marines stationed throughout the East Coast.

“The biggest pride I get out of this job is teaching somebody how to do a job the right way, making a difference,” Brown said. “It is my favorite part of this job. If we are not putting out a safe product or program people can get hurt.”