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Friday, November 18, 2011

Sea Stories

Back in the early 80's I was honored to have served with the US Navy. TAD to the VF121 TransPacSupDet. Mechanic or Aviation Machinist Mate AD3. We were tasked with receiving, making ready and transporting brand spanking new F4S' at the time from the Naval Aviation Rework Facility in San Diego to several Squadrons based in Atsugi Japan. Marines! During the first Transpac our first stop was in Honolulu for fuel and rest. It was the first time I had been to Hawaii. I spent the entire time in the hanger. Working. One of the birds had blown a main bearing seal during this leg of the flight and needed a motor replacement. The J79 Gas Turbine Powereplant is more of a wind machine than it is a motor. This one needed replacing and the only ones around with a fresh motor on a rack were the Marines over at Kenehoe Bay.

Everyone heads out for liberty except the the Watch, airframers and mechanics. NICE! Engine Replacement is not difficult with the right gear. We brought every thing with us. Short of Seals, clamps and safety wire the fresh motor comes with everything and we literally just jack it up and roll it in. EXCEPT ... the Main Fuel Control Linkage is still hanging on the old motor and is on its way back to the marines in Kenehoe. The Maintenace Chief was a giant everyone just called "Towbar" "SUCK BANG and BLOW ... Lose any one of those and yer not flying anymore ... Yer Falling" He had the duty in the hanger overnight supervising the crews. I explained the stiuation about the missing Fuel Control link and He went off and returned later with a Jeep and a brand new Navy LT. I grab some tools and jumped in the jeep.

To the watch at Kenehoe we tried explaining our need for the fuel control linkage and how it was the only one on the Island and that we needed to leave the next day and all. NOPE! "CHESSUS" Explained again to the SGT of the Watch and then again to the OOD. "Fricken Marines!" Most of the time these guys are standing around looking for food or ammo ... and where do they come? Yep they come to the Navy. The truth was our broken motor now belongs to the USMC. It was secured and we were not allowed to take anything from it. Later, after dark we were able to reaquire the fuel control linkage and that could be a whole other story. There's only 3 people on the planet that know how that went down.

Back in Honolulu we were able to buttonup the bird pretty quick, do the proscribed CDI inspections,paperwork low and high power turns in the hush house and were off to Wake Island.

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