Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Colors of the Flight Deck - Green

In a continuing series on my humble electronic home, I want to introduce you to the many and varied colors of shirts worn on the Flight Deck of your typical Aircraft Carrier. The color is significant in what the people are doing and even within the color there are differences.

Explained herein Today's lesson: The Green Shirt.

So many people wear the Green Shirt that it is hard to get started, but here we go. There are two broad categories of people that wear the Green shirt, Ships Company personnel and Air Wing personnel.

Ships Company people are almost all Aviation Boatswain Mates (or Air Bosun's) of the Equipment variety or ABE. They maintain and operate the Catapult systems, the Arresting Gear systems and other devices on the flight deck (such as the Jet Blast Deflectors and the Movable Optical Visual Landing Aids System, or MOVLAS). These guys are the one that hook the aircraft up to the catapult, verify the aircraft weight, they set controls for the catapult, they are the ones who run out into the landing zone to "strip" a cross deck pendant (that part of the arresting cable that the aircraft hook grabs), they poor sockets onto the purchase cable ends, they detangle the wire when it wraps around the tail hook, and they hustle out and install the Landing Aids when it is called for by the Air Boss. These guys are always dirty, they work in the grease and oil and spilled jet fuel and they wear that mess on their Float Coats. They work all day and night; whenever an aircraft is flying these guys are at their station. These Green float coast are a solid green and usually marked with the division or the Gear they work.

Here: Arresting Gear ABE's replace the Cross Deck Pendant (CDP). The 'purchase' cable is to the left, the CDP is that part of the wire that lays out on the flight deck. It is built different than purchase cable and is inspected many times during the day and if it becomes chipped or a strand of the wire wrap is broken, the CDP is pulled out of service. The sockets and turnbuckles are desigend to allow the quick removal and replacemtent of the CDP. Between landing quick. (USN Photo)
Below: This is the Cat Hook-up, this ABE Green Shirt connects the Holdback Bar into the aircraft and the flight deck, he ensures the Launch Bar correctly engages into the catapult Shuttle. He is signaling for slack to be taken up in the cat and next will be a call for Tension.

Below: Here are some Arresting Gear Green shirts, keeping the purchase cable from tangling. The tension on the line sometimes coils up the cable to the point it wraps up into loops.

Weight Check!. This ABE runs out and stands next to the cockpit and holds this board up, it has the weight of the aircraft being connected to the Cat. The Pilot acknowledges that weight or with his hands he has them raise or lower the indicated weight. This board is shown to the Cat operators who in turn set the controls for the appropiate weight.
(USN Photo)
The Air Wing Green shirts include virtually every job specialty required to fly and maintain an aircraft. From jet engine mechanics (AD), electricians (AE), structural mechanic sheet metal (AMS), structural mechanic air frames (AMF), structural mechanic hydraulics (AMH), structural mechanic for crew systems, survival and escape equipment (AME), pararigger (PR) and electronics technician (AT). That was my rating or a branch of it. At one time there were three flavors of aviation electronics technician, your stock AT, your Fire Control Technician specialist (AQ) who were supposed to work mainly on RADAR systems, and the Anti-Submarine warfare Technician specialist (AX) which was what my specialty was. In my Squadron we used all our AT's like they were AT's, we worked all the systems without division.
The Air Wing Green shirt and the float coats worn by Squadron personnel were marked different than Ships Company Green shirts, we had a black stripe down the middle of our shirts, front and back. This stripe differentiated us from the Ships Company well that and the squadron number printed on them as well.
Photo Right: An AT is trying to get Power on the aircraft, an EA-6B. (USN Photo)

Below,, a Squadron Elictricians Mate is working on a clearance light on the wing tip of an S-3 Viking. I've been up there many times as the fairing that light is attached to is actually an ESM Receiver POD, those black square boxes with the little bumps are antennas.

(USN Photo)

Here is an AT in his office, the pilot station of an S-3B. (USN Photo)

I wore the green shirt for a long time, off and on with a white shirt. I would trade off based on how many Final checkers were available on any given day. If our squadrons Flight Deck party had enough to cover I would wear green.

In this photo, the bunch of Green Shirts are shop Rep's or Troubleshooters waiting for the call if necessary to rush in and throw a fix to an ailing system. Each Shop usually supplies at least one person to be their Rep. (USN Photo)

Below. A whole bunch of Green shirts bare a hand on this SH-60 helo. (USN Photo)

A "metal smith" or AMS working on an elevator panel. (USN Photo)

In the fruit salad of the flight deck, you will see more green than any other color. Without us Green shirts, aviation stops.
BT: Jimmy T sends.


Buck said...

Thanks yet again for the peek into your world, Jimmy. I find it MOST fascinating.

JimmyT said...

Buck, the pleasure is all mine!!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Ed Murray said...

Hey Jimmy, you know us high flatulent "gaseous yes" AX's that were in IM3, we actually were jealous of the significant jerseys that "O" level tech wore. And me being the joker that I can be made a suggestion to the IM3 655 Chief. I proposed that we be allowed to wear Black Jerseys and in white our name, and the title VASTards W/C 655. Needless to say, that didn't go over to well. One of my many off kilter suggestions, but then again I digress ;-)

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