AME2 Nevin Cumpston, U.S. Navy (1983-1991)



The following Reflection represents AME2 Nevin Cumpston’s legacy of their military service from 1983 to 1991. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.

What was your favorite piece of military equipment – firearm, apparel, vehicle, aircraft, boat, etc. – and why? What was your least favorite?:

My favorite piece of military equipment is the F-14 fighter aircraft. Having had the privilege of working on them in VF-41 onboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) in the mid 1980s as an AME (Aviation Maintenance Equipment) is among the best honors and memories I have of my US Naval service. Working a 12-hour shift, day in and day out, while at sea was my favorite part. Knowing that I had performed maintenance on an aircraft, and watching it be shot off the deck to go perform a mission, was a moment of pride for all of us to see. Becoming turned qualified and being a CDI inspector made it all the better, being able to start the aircraft and help other shops perform their maintenance tasks was the thrill of a lifetime.

Watching the F-14 take off at night in full afterburner while you are standing (kneeling) right next to it was so exhilarating an experience. Feeling the vibrations of the aircraft as the power radiated through the deck to your body, the heat, the sounds, the smell of burning JP5 in the air. Seeing the Jet blast deflectors come up, you knew things were about to become exciting. Feeling the tiny specks of the deck flying through the air and hitting you in the face as the aircraft powers its way down the catapult. Seeing how dirty we were after a day of being on the deck as a final checker or mechanic was also, in a way very cool, it made us feel like we accomplished something.
Having a flight schedule so busy that we only got time to eat box lunches, the bologna sandwiches, chips, and a piece of fruit were certainly welcome during the brutal schedule of flight ops.

Having a few minutes to catch our breath and eat, then having to go right back up for recovery. Watching them come in for a landing and hearing them hit the deck and the sparks fly off the tail hook when it hits the deck. Waiting for it to be parked and chained down, so we can replenish the liquid oxygen and correct any faults, the pilot and Rio may have put on a MAF (Maintenance Action Form). Quite a heckling schedule, especially when the aircrew is performing flight qualifications.

The overall memories of being on an aircraft carrier, working on one of the coolest aircraft the Navy ever had in service. It was such a privilege and an honor I will never forget.

My least favorite piece of military equipment was the LOX (Liquid Oxygen) cart to fill the bottles to put in the aircraft before flight. The equipment was always so cold and something about the cloud of warming oxygen in the air always gave me a feeling boding after watching the training film, the man from LOX. Always had to be careful whether we were onboard the ship or back at NAS Oceana on the flight line.

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Tags: AME (Aviation Maintenance Equipment), F-14 fighter aircraft, NAS Oceana, Navy,, TWS Military Service Page, USS Nimitz (CVN-68)


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