Navy Petty Officer Kevin McEachin has a lot on his plate. The 23-year-old sailor is on his first deployment aboard the Norfolk-based USS George H.W. Bush.
"It is very exciting to be a part of something like this," McEachin says.
McEachin helps maintain fighter jets for the Oceana-based Fighting Black Lions, which have carried out airstrikes in Iraq. He hears first-hand what that's like from the pilots.
"To know what is being done when jets come back, you know they usually talk to us and tell us what happened,” he says. "It`s sad to know what`s happening, but at the same time it`s something that we have to do."
McEachin does everything from pre and post flight preps to making sure the fighter jets safely take off the flight deck.
"It feels amazing,” he says. “Seeing jets come back letting me know that I did my job as far as me and other air crew, it`s definitely an amazing feeling knowing that everybody came back safe."
His hard work has paid off. Earlier this month, McEachin was recognized as the Plane Captain of the Quarter for 2014, an award given to the best performing captain in every command.
"I had no idea I was going to receive that,” he says. “Definitely a great feeling."
Being a part of an operation that has received so much national attention doesn't seem to phase McEachin. Constant training, he says, has prepared him. The Bush left Norfolk in February and is slated to come back around the holidays.
“The situation hasn’t made it any more stressful or different in my opinion,” he says.
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