AL ASAD, Iraq -- During operations in a combat zone, squadrons have to rely on motivated and dedicated Marines to ensure that the aircraft or vehicles are ready to perform at their peak performance levels.
For the Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 this is done with the help of the Miles brothers. With their technical expertise and ability to get the job done, the squadron is able to keep up their high operational tempo.
"We are both in avionics," said Lance Cpl. Dustin V. Miles, aircraft systems technician, HMLA-167, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward). "Right now, I am in the fire support section, troubleshooting and maintaining the electronic systems that control the weapon systems."
Although the two are not in the same shops while in theater, they are always looking for each other and wondering what the other is doing throughout the day.
"If we have any spare time, we try to find each other to hang out a bit," said Devin T. Miles, avionics aircraft systems technician, HMLA-167. "We have been best friends through our whole lives, and we are always trying to help each other out."
While at work, the brothers continue to keep up their positive attitudes and work together to get jobs done so the squadron can keep supporting the troops on the ground.
"We work on everything on the bird from the electronics to the weapons systems," added Dustin. "If either of us has time and see the other working, we often lend a hand if there is anything to be done."
The Marion, Ill., natives both agree that they work well together, because they know what the other is capable of accomplishing. If there is ever a better way to do something, they explore their options rather than argue about whose way is better.
"These two are very proactive and have a lot of initiative," said Master Sgt. Claude Ready, ordnance chief, HMLA-167. "They help out with little things around the different shops, which frees up our other guys for more detailed missions."
Although they will spend seven months in Iraq, the two know that they will always have support from their parents, Marc and Karen Miles.
"Our parents knew that we would be together at least through recruit training, but never expected that we would be stationed in the same unit," said Devin. "They have supported our choice and given us tremendous support during our time in."
While having support from family and friends is one of the most helpful things for deployed service members, the brothers continue to watch out for each other, no matter what happens in their lives.
"We have always been close. We never fight and always tackle every obstacle that we encounter," said Dustin. "We have never tried to 'one-up' one another. We think about the same things, and we just get the job done so that our pilots can be there when the guys in the fight need them."
Mission accomplishment is always the first thing that a Marine with an air wing attack squadron is concerned with. If the job isn't done fast and properly, the mission was not a success. With the Marion High School graduates on the job and working together, there will always be UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Super Cobras in the air, covering the ground forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom.