USS Ingraham
Decommissioned January 30, 2015
Seven Air Department Personnel Earn Enlisted Air Warfare Specialist Onboard USS Ingraham
PACIFIC OCEAN (June 22 2014) AE3 Bryan Hamalainen earns the Enlisted Air Warfare Specialist (EAWS) qualification onboard USS Ingraham (FFG 61) (U.S. Navy photo by Sonar Technician (Surface) Jeremy P. West/Released)
Seven Air Department Personnel Earn Enlisted Air Warfare Specialist Onboard USS Ingraham
By Ens. Sarah Lovelace, USS Ingraham Public Affairs
PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Seven personnel from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 Detachment 2 deployed on board USS Ingraham (FFG 61) earned the Enlisted Air Warfare Specialist (EAWS) qualification, June 22.

The EAWS qualification pin is one of many different warfare qualifications that enlisted personnel can achieve.

"As HSL-49 Detachment 2 'Dos Bravos' officer in charge, I couldn't be more proud," said Lt. Cmdr. Charles Clark. "To have so many junior Sailors come out on deployment, many for the first time, and to not only hit the ground running in their jobs, but getting qualified so quickly as well just validates how blessed I am to have a strong group of maintainers and aircrew to be working with."

Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Hunter Eiland, Aviation Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Bryan Hamaleinen, Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Benjamin Oquendo, Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class William Busbsy, Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin McGinty, Naval Aircrewman (Tactical Helicopter) 2nd Class Robert Millard, and Naval Aircrewman (Tactical Helicopter) 2nd Class Christopher Weider earned the right to wear the EAWS insignia.

"This was a very challenging qualification to earn. Many hours were devoted to learning every aspect about my aircraft," said Hamaleinen a native of Corpus Christi, Texas. "I have never felt as proud as when I was pinned with the EAWS insignia."

These highly motivated Sailors have diligently worked twelve-hour shifts, seven days a week to earn this well-deserved qualification. While deployed on board Ingraham, they have proved they possess superior knowledge of their platform, the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter.

The process for earning the EAWS pin is demanding and can take several months to complete. Sailors are required to discuss the requisite knowledge necessary for success and to obtain signatures in the Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) booklet. Once all PQS line items have been signed, the participant will then take an all-encompassing written exam and conduct an aircraft walk-around to demonstrate his knowledge of the platform. Upon completion, the Sailor will partake in a final oral board consisting of first class petty officers and a chief petty officer. Once they passes the oral board, the Sailor has finally earned the right to wear the EAWS insignia.

"Achieving my air warfare pin was one of the proudest moments of my life," remarked Eiland, a native of Seneca, South Carolina. "The off-shift hours spent to complete the qualification was well worth it."

Ingraham congratulates these seven Sailors on this well-earned accomplishment. It is unusual for this number of participants to earn the EAWS qualification during a deployment

"I am extremely proud to have HSL 49 Det 2 as Ingraham's Air Department," said Cmdr. Daniel Straub, commanding officer of USS Ingraham. "They set their goals high from day one of deployment and their robust training program and hard work led them to achievement of this important qualification in the middle of a rigorous operational schedule."

Ingraham is deployed in support of Operation Martillo, an international and interagency effort that targets illicit trafficking in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
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