Shaky Jake was a 46 Pilot

Usually by the time a guy makes major in the MarineAv helo community, he is well known and his callsign is pretty much a done deal. So when this guy checks in to HMM-263 as the new S-3 (my boss) I was surprised to see his name on the chalked flight schedule on the ready room's board the next day: Shaky Jake. Interesting.

All I knew about the guy was that when he walked in he bummed a cigarette from me and asked about the squadron's weaknesses. I liked that,cut to the bone. A capable looking, experienced, gimme-the-facts-quick-and-I'll-go-fix-it type. 

We were about to chop to MAU in three months. A Marine Amphibious Unit is what a Marine Expeditionary Unit used to be: A MAU was comprised of a BLT (Battalion Landing Team; we always ended up with the 8th Marines), a composite squadron and supporting units. We were all on the same boat.  That boat was part of a unit called an MARG (Marine Amphibious Readiness Group). Usually we were four boats: an oiler, an AK (supply), an LST, and us. The LST carried one platoon from the BLT, which we rotated every week. My squadron (263) was called the ACE (Air Combat Element). The MARG was tasked by 6th Fleet, and so on.

So, based on my past experience with the Beirut float, I told Major Shaky Jake that none of the pilots were qualified for Stage III NVG (night-vision goggles), and we don't have any up gunners (we would soon need 36). We need three Aerial Gunnery Instructors blessed by the Group AGI (aerial gunnery instructor), and we need (aircrew) Aircraft Recognition Training to pass the MCCRES Test.

Lastly, we need someone assigned by designation to the billet of Enlisted Aircrew Training Officer, because when we "go composite" the Aircrew Training Officer will have his hands full with 60 pilots. This is the exact info he, the new S-3, needed to step in and do his job. We were leaving for the Med in six months and much had to happen by then. 

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