Remembering the Forgotten Mechanic

from MECH magazine

Through the history of world aviation
many names have come to the fore.
Great deeds of the past on our memory will last
as they're joined by more and more.

When man first started to labor
in his quest to conquer the sky,
He was the designer, mechanic and pilot
and he built a machine that would fly.
The pilot was everyone's hero,
he was brave,
he was bold,
he was grand;
As he stood by his battered biplane
with his goggles and helmet in hand.
But for each of these flying heroes
there were thousands little renowned;
And these were the men who worked on the planes
but kept their feet on the ground.
We all know the name of Lindbergh
and we've read of his flight to fame;
But think, if you can, of his maintenance man;
Can you remember his name?
And think of our wartime heroes
and all the acclaim that they got.
Can you tell me the names of their crew chiefs?
A thousand to one you cannot.
So when you see mighty jet aircraft
as they mark their way through the air,
Remember the grease-stained man with the wrench in his hand;
he's the man who put them there.



The Intruder was dedicated to the single mission of putting bombs on target. The pilot and bombardier/navigator guided this complex, state-of-the art weapons platform to the target and safely back to the aircraft carrier. However, behind the aircrew was a whole team of professionals who made this mission most successful.

The Team behind the A-6 and its aircrew included the factory and field representatives from Grumman Iron Works, the Navy maintenance depot, the squadron maintenance department, the "grapes" who filled the tanks with JP-5, the LOX crew for crew oxygen, the plane captains who readied the flight for launch, the ship's crew that directed, shot and caught the A-6, and a host of other support personnel.

Most critical to the A-6 Team of professionals that 'put the bombs on target' were the ordnance men responsible for the care and feeding of all the millions of pounds of weapons the A-6 delivered. The 'ordys' job was literally back-breaking as they lifted 500, 1000, and 2000 pound bombs and secured them to the wings. Day or night, rain or shine, the ordys sweated, grunted and groaned as they loaded tons and tons of bombs and missiles on the A-6 so the Team could successfully complete the real reason we were all there.

Departing the target area, aircrews silently thanked the ordys for all the ordnance safely releasing from the aircraft, this publicly recognizes their contribution to the outstanding success of the A-6 Intruder.