By Lance Cpl. John Wilkes
Aircraft maintenance is a crucial part of completing the mission of military aviation.
Many different types of wrench turning, welding and programming go into ensuring Marine Corps aircraft move troops, supplies and ordnance to their target.
Three different levels of aircraft maintenance exist. The first and most basic level of maintenance is operational level.
“Operational level maintenance includes basic aircraft maintenance, such as replacing the simple components on an F/A-18 Hornet, and can be dealt with at the squadron level,” said Staff Sgt. Barry Roberts, avionics controller with
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31.
“There is a lot that goes on here,” said Roberts. “From the processing of maintenance requests and the paperwork involved, to the repair of parts, there is a lot that goes on around here.”
When maintenance cannot be completed at the squadron level the part in question is sent to main parts control. Marines with PC determine whether the maintenance needed is intermediate level or depot level maintenance.
“All of the parts that come from squadrons get screened and checked for improper maintenance,” said Lance Cpl. Latisha Gonzalez, a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, aviation material screening Marine. “The part then gets sent to the proper work center where it can be repaired.”
Intermediate level maintenance involves more complex maintenance on components while operational level maintenance mainly concerns the removal and replacement of components.
“An example of I-level maintenance may be to repair an entire switchboard whereas O-level would be to repair a switch on the switchboard,” said Roberts.
There are many different work centers that each have a specialty for: radar gear, cables, airframes, avionics, hydraulics, digital displays, communication gear, ordnance, ground support equipment, and facilities.
Intermediate level maintenance can be completed by MALS-31 aboard the Air Station. Any work the Marines cannot complete at the MALS then moves to the depot level, the highest level of maintenance.
“I enjoy this job very much,” said Gonzalez. “We get to see the parts come and go, so we know we are making progress.”