September 20, 2012

Brotherhood Forged on the Flightline: VMA Marines work together on DFT

Story and photo by Lance Cpl. Uriel Avendano
Desert Warrior Staff
Lance Cpl. Jose Alberto Ramosparedes, a Marine Attack Squadron 311 powerline mechanic and a native of Fairfield, Calif., walks away after successfully preparing one of the Yuma-based AV-8B Harriers for take-off during the deployment-for-training exercise Pacific Titan at Red Beach in Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 12. Ramosparedes is one of only four VMA Marines to support the exercise, and the most junior at that.

The brotherhood code of the Corps proved itself to be true for four Marine Attack Squadron Marines who had never met each other during Exercise Pacific Titan at Red Beach in Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“We found out we were all squadron guys, and started talking, just getting to know one another because we knew we’d be working together more than anyone else,” said Lance Cpl. Tony James Murphy III, a VMA-214 aviation ordnance technician and a native of Huntington, W.Va. “Once we got out on the flightline, it was just like going back to the office – When it’s time to take care of business, we take care of business.”

The youngest of the four, 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Jose Alberto Ramosparedes, a VMA-311 powerline mechanic and plane captain and a native of Fairfield, Calif., shared his first experiences with the Corps.

“I liked the uniform,” said Ramosparedes of his reason for becoming a Marine. “I talked to a recruiter in May of 2010, and I shipped out to boot camp four months later.”

Catching, inspecting, refueling and directing jets during their arrival and departure doesn’t phase the junior Marine.

“These planes are a lot simpler than a car, if you can believe it,” said Ramosparedes. “It’s just pressurized air. No transmission to deal with, just air.”

For Cpl. Geno Nicholas Smith, a VMA-214 ordnance technician and a native of Brookfield, Ill., the job demands teamwork and communication. Having grown up in a family of three brothers and one sister, Smith appreciates what it means to work well together.

“You need to learn how to work together because some squadrons do things a little differently than others,” said Smith. “Communication between the four of us is key. Talking, learning how each of us were going to do things so that there isn’t any confusion as to how we are going to go over each evolution was really important.”

The Marines top priority dealt with figuring out how the plane captains from one squadron would work with the ordnance mechanics from another squadron.

“Maybe they do checks a little differently than us,” said Smith. “For 214, our PC (Plane Captains) usually arms our bombs after our fourth check, but you never know if another PC does it a different way. If they’re not ready, we’d be interrupting their part of their checks, so familiarization is also key.”

Cpl. Juan Pablo Morales, a VMA-513 powerline mechanic/plane captain and the most senior Marine of the four, agreed.

“Getting to know a few different people has definitely been a smooth process,” said Morales. “Once we caught the first few jets, we knew what was going to go on.”

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