I am a CH-47 Flight Engineer Instructor at Ft. Rucker, AL that works for Flight School XXI. I've been a crewmember on Chinooks since 2003 with the 101st, 2 ID and 10th MTN. One common thread I have noted in offline discussions with other servicemembers, regardless of branch of service, whether inside or outside Army Aviation is that my fellow crewmembers have been viewed as lazy and unprofessional. I will not deny that sometimes this is exactly the case, but generally speaking it is not. This question is an effort to promote understanding, end some stigmas, and overall improve not only the quality of crewmembers, but also the quality of dealings between aircrews and supported units.
Posted 5 y ago
SSG Utter; I wouldn't worry about it. First of all, the infantry thinks everyone is lazy. Then the cavalry thinks that everyone but them and the infantry are lazy, including the heavy armor units, but the infantry are snobs because they think the CAV is lazy. Then the armor guys think that everyone except the infantry and the CAV are lazy but that the infantry and the CAV are arrogant bastards because they think the armor guys are lazy and eat donuts all the time. Keep on rolling this downhill until you get to the Aviation and the air crews themselves. The bottom line is that when the big-3: Infantry, Armor/Cavalry, and Field Artillery see you guys, they see you fly in (generally not a hard job), hop out, give some instructions, unwind the cord attached to your head so you don't get sucked up into the blades while you are telling us what to do and which side of the aircraft to approach from, watch us load the stuff and then help us tie it down...then you smoke and joke with the pilots and wait until someone has to go to the bathroom before you close everything up and take off. THEN...we get dropped off somewhere to do more killin...and you guys fly off. Now there is a LOT of sarcasm in there, but if you asked a "Joe" to sum it up, there you go. The bottom line is that no one sees all of the other things you do to make sure that that single, extremely valuable piece of equipment is fully operational and able to do what it is supposed to be doing when the Army needs it the most...and they never will...and most will never care. In this profession, you have to be happy and confident that your part of the machine works perfectly...every time...all the time. If someone doesn't say, "That's the shiniest diamond I have ever seen...is it any less shiny? No...just be shiny...and don't worry if people don't say so.
In early 2003, we were in the Sunni Triangle and water was VERY hard to get. Everyone saved their piss bottles so we could have something to clean windscreens for the pilots. Those !@#$ dust storms every day would try to bury the acft and keep us grounded yet despite 120+*, mortars, rockets, ASP's blowing up left and right, and every bonehead with an AK and RPG, NOTHING wouldn't stop our crews from making mission to take care of our Tanks and Bradleys from 2/3 ACR. I have NEVER I repeat EVER had anything but praise for my crewchiefs. Their dedication and hard work brought tears to my eyes on a daily basis. I am sorry if any of you senior leaders ever felt otherwise. Pride in ownership? Our crewchiefs DEFINED pride in ownership.
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