I’m a Navy trained avionic technician, and I love it. It’s challenging and rewarding. A great feeling swells the heart as an aircraft leaves the ground for its first functional test flight. Every sweat, swear, and swing of the hammer comes together in that brief moment.
To aquire a civilian job equivalent to my Navy job in a timely manner is near impossible. However, that is exactly what has happened. Although, I worked on the MH-53, the Marines fly the CH-53; both are similar in appearance, but different in modifications. L3 refurbishes (loose term) CH-53 for the Marines, in an effort to prolong their structural life. After retiring and moving to Jacksonville NC, I joined L3’s new site.
To go and work on these mighty machines is unexplainable in short terms. A story unfolds as we begin to remove panels and wire harnesses. Bullet holes in one bird revealed the chaos of its missions. Wire harnesses repaired in a Frankenstein manner showed the time constraint given before the next mission. As we install new parts and repair damages, an old tired work horse begins to breathe new life. The day comes for all three engines to fire up with pilot in the seat. Apprehension fills the heart as the rotor head begins to whip the air into submission. With a forward lear of the rotor, the CH-53 taxis to the launch pad. The sound from this beast isn’t merely heard. It’s felt. Tension builds as everyone watches and listens for signs of distress. A heaving roar brings daylight under its wheels and a sigh of relief is felt as the war bird majestically hovers steady on point.
It’s not a job. It’s a love. Granted for some, this is a job. They don’t feel the excitement, and that’s fine. But, as the old saying goes, “Do what you love to do, and you’ll never work.” How true it is.