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Front Page - Friday, May 19, 2017

Chattanooga native is the Navy’s eyes, ears

Airman Robert McAvoy is a 2013 East Ridge High School graduate and Chattanooga native. - Submitted

A 2013 East Ridge High School graduate and Chattanooga native is serving with a U.S. Navy squadron that flies one of the Navy’s most advanced aircraft – one with an important mission: keeping watch over the skies and oceans of the world.

Airman Robert McAvoy serves with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron, 121, also known as the Bluetails, which operates out of Norfolk.

McAvoy works as an aviation electronics technician and is responsible for troubleshooting and repairing equipment and employing the latest test equipment and procedures.

“I love the challenging parts of my job,” McAvoy says.

The Hawkeye is a carrier-based aircraft, taking off from and landing on Navy aircraft carriers at sea. Using powerful radar and an array of advanced sensors, the twin-turboprop aircraft and its crew of five can remain in the air for hours, scanning the skies, detecting potential airborne and surface threats and relaying real-time information to other Navy aircraft and ships operating in the area.

“This squadron feels like a tight-knit family with great camaraderie,” McAvoy says.

The E-2D provides the Navy with a variety of other capabilities as well, including the ability to conduct search and rescue operations, communications relay, close air support coordination and drug interdiction. The Hawkeye can fly at nearly 350 mph at altitudes up to 30,000 feet.

“The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is a complex system and requires the full effort of every Bluetail sailor to maintain the aircraft in full mission capable status,” explains Cmdr. Mike Finn, commanding officer. “Our aircrew, maintainers, and admin support personnel are the best this country has to offer. Their expertise ensures that VAW-121 continues to be successful.”

With over 150 sailors assigned to the squadron, jobs are specialized and designed to keep each part of the Hawkeye running smoothly.

Whether training new aviators, maintaining airframes and engines, processing paperwork or handling and flying the aircraft, the key to success is teamwork.

“Serving in the Navy has allowed me to fulfill my childhood dream,” McAvoy says.

Source: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Theodore Quintana, Navy Office of Community Outreach