Posted by Lex, on August 18, 2006
The AMO looked through the hatch at Lt. Cmdr. Myers. Unpleasant thoughts about what had upset the Navy pilot were creeping in. Number 6 had been hard down, and now the board was clear. He hadn’t asked, but he suspected the answer was coming.
He forced a smile and said, “I’m Major Higgens. The CO is airborne, so I guess the goat rope is mine. Can we discuss this in here?”
The maintenance chief motioned at the Marines clustered in the doorway and they moved back outside. Even outside the shack, some of the discussion carried well enough to be heard. Most of them decided to be somewhere else, and headed back to the shop areas. The NCOIC’s picked up on what was transpiring and began drifting toward maintenance control. Tom sat down in front of a fan, set his feet on a toolbox, and leaned back.
Gunny Ceisak kicked the bottoms of his boots, “Wake up, Harrelson. I need you to go up the hill. You’re friends with Staff Sergeant Alders, do you know what room he’s in?”
“Tom rubbed his face, “Yea, Gunny, I know what room he in, if he’s there.”
“Take the truck. Get Alders, and go up the mountain and see if any of the mid shift electricians are in the barracks.”
“Aye-aye, Gunny. What’s up, what do I tell them?”
“Tell them the Navy keeps better maintenance records than we do. They record serial numbers when they swap generators. Tell them whatever story they got better match. Now, go.”
Tom drove carefully up the hill. He had a military driver’s license, but he hadn’t driven anywhere in months. He stopped at the Staff NCO barracks, and went inside. Banging on Alder’s door roused the houseboy from a room down the hall. Tom asked the houseboy to open the door, then went in to check if anyone was there.
“Bill, Bill, Wake up, man, wake up!”, Tom stood at the foot of the rack and raised it off the floor, letting it fall with a crash.
Bill sat up, startled, “What time is it? How’d you get here?”
“What do you know about Navy F-4 electrical systems?”
“Oh, hell, Tom. I knew it was a bad idea.”
“Bill, everybody knows it was a bad idea. We’ve both had QA training, you can’t just open up an airplane. What you didn’t know is that the Navy puts serial numbers on maintenance paperwork. C’mon, we got to go up the hill and find the electricians, if we can.”
A similar wake-up greeted Sgt. Saunders, and since the others were missing and presumed to be out in town, the three of them discussed the situation as they slowly rode back down to the flight line. Top Smith was standing alongside the AMO as they came around the hanger and parked the truck. Two of the dayshift electricians went past with a handcart and two toolboxes.
The AMO fixed them with a glare, “Alders, Gunny Hurst is in my office. I want you to join him. I’ll be there in a couple of minutes. Sgt. Saunders, you stand by. Right now I don’t want to hear from you.”
“What are we going to do, Top?”, Tom knew it was a bad time to ask questions, but his curiosity pushed him along anyway.
” ‘We’ aren’t doing anything, Harrelson. You are going to go away. The electricians are going put the generator back in the Navy bird and hope that it works. The AMO is going to sort this out, and when the CO lands, he going to get to talk to some Navy officers out on the carrier. They are already planning to fly their own personnel in to inspect and launch the birds.”
Editor’s Note 08-05-18 – I do not know the identity of the guest blogger, but remember somewhere in the Wayback Machine that he was a Marine Gunnery Sgt.