3rd MAW Marine flies above the rest, sets example

13 Aug 2009 | Lance Cpl. Manuel F. Guerrero

A 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Marine from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163 (Reinforced) earned the title of Marine Corps Aviation Association Air Crewman of the Year, July 28.

Staff Sgt. Bryan Campbell, the weapons and tactics crew chief instructor with HMM-163 “Sea Elk,” received the award for maintaining and updating crew chief qualifications during the UH-1Y “Venom” helicopters’ first deployment with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Boxer.

Marines of HMM-163 (Rein.) got the first chance to deploy on the new helicopter, and Campbell was responsible for keeping the crew chiefs’ qualifications up-to-date. The squadron took three Venom helicopters on the deployment.

“My job was to arrange training for crew chiefs during the deployment. I was in charge of flying with them and getting them qualified on the technologically advanced helicopter,” said Campbell, who completed more than 100 sorties during the deployment. “By the end of the deployment, they were all highly qualified crew chiefs on the new helicopter.”

Campbell, a native of Melbourne, Ark., earned 24 new maintenance qualifications and developed new tactics and procedures for the sea-based Venom deployment. He qualified crew chiefs in fast roping, aerial gunnery, terrain flights, confined area landing, spy-rigging, parachute operations and night vision goggle training during the seven-month deployment.

Campbell has the most knowledge of any Marine on the new helicopter. He was the most qualified Marine for the job, said Capt. Brian J. Hensarling, a pilot for HMM-163 (Rein.), who deployed with Campbell.

Although Campbell was individually selected for his exceptional performance, he gives credit to his fellow Marines who helped him achieve the award.

“The award is just like any other award for me,” said the humble Marine. “If it wasn’t for the crew chiefs’ dedication, initiative and foresight during the deployment, we wouldn’t have accomplished the mission.”

During the deployment, the squadron provided aviation support in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean and conducted anti-piracy operations. Campbell’s steadfast commitment and extensive knowledge of the helicopter helped operations run smoothly, commented Hensarling.

Pilots, crew chiefs and maintainers who worked with him agree that Campbell excelled at his job.

“He is the perfect example of what a Marine leader should be,” said Hensarling. “He made the deployment easier for them because of his extensive knowledge and experience with the Yankee.”

Campbell hopes to continue his accomplishments when he deploys with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom during the spring of 2010. It will be his second deployment with the Venom.