people and community energy and national security intersect through aviation program
2 min read | september 27, 2023
Chevron’s aviation experts are teaming up with military personnel to support the U.S. Air Force’s new helicopter fleet.
The Air Force’s older helicopters were recently upgraded to newer MH-139 helicopters that are militarized versions of the AgustaWestland AW139 aircrafts in Chevron’s fleet.
Chevron’s U.S. Gulf of Mexico aviation team has extensive experience with the twin-engine AW139s and stepped in to assist with maintenance observation sessions. The program took flight earlier this year at Chevron’s airbase in Picayune, Mississippi.
“The opportunity Chevron has offered us has been invaluable,” said Chief Master Sgt. Quincey Hester, chief of quality assurance for the 908th maintenance group. “Any opportunity to get some hands-on experience is a major benefit to the efficiency of our operations.”
For more than 15 years, Chevron has used the AW139, a 12-seat, medium-sized helicopter, to transport offshore workers to and from platforms.
Its Picayune facility boasts 14 helicopters and 55 workers responsible for maintaining the fleet’s mechanical operations.
It’s also now home to the four-week observation program for Air Force members, who travel to Picayune to spend about 12 hours per day, in 30-day increments, shadowing facility mechanics.
“We’re getting the members to work in separate shops and different hangars, so that they familiarize themselves with various components and the overall layout of the AW139,” said Jose Jaramillo, who manages Chevron’s U.S. Gulf of Mexico aircraft operations.
aircraft operations manager
veterans at work
Approximately 60% of Chevron’s U.S. Gulf of Mexico pilots and about half of its helicopter mechanics are military veterans.
Jaramillo served 13 years in the Louisiana National Guard and was deployed three times:
- He was sent to Haiti in 1995 as a crew chief.
- He piloted Black Hawk® helicopters during Hurricane Katrina
- He served in Iraq in 2003.
As part of the program, pilots learn to troubleshoot any issues encountered by mechanics at the facility.
About 35 Air Force personnel will complete the sessions before entering a formal training program. This will help ensure they’re ready to maintain the fleet of MH-139s when they begin arriving at the Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama during the spring of 2024.
“Those who’ve gone through that program have said it’s completely different compared to our initial training program with the HH-60 Black Hawk,” Hester said. “The knowledge we’ve received guarantees that we’re a step ahead of the helicopter delivery date.”
“We’re grateful that Chevron brought our folks in to get some insight.”
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