American Legion Post 227 hosts Navy veteran Mark Zenor

Friday, February 10, 2017

Mark Zenor served on aircraft carriers
Photo by Jerry Pickard
By Jerry Pickard

On Tuesday, February 7 The American Legion Post 227 welcomed Navy Veteran Mark Zenor who related his Navy training and life aboard US Navy carriers.

Mark was born and raised in Iowa and comes from a family of veterans. His grandfather served in the US Navy during WWI and his father served in the US Army during the Korean war.

Mark enlisted in the US Navy in November of 1974 and was sent to Basic Training at NTC San Diego in March of 1975.

Upon graduation from Basic, Mark selected Aviation Electrician as his Military Occupational Specialty or MOS. He was sent to Millington, Tennessee for advanced training.

He graduated at the top of his class and was offered the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class if he would extend his enlistment by one year.

He accepted the offer and was assigned to NAS Ault Field at Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island in November of 1975 as his first duty station. Mark said he arrived at Whidbey Island during a period of rainy weather that has lasted for the forty two years he has been in Washington state.

USS Kitty Hawk
Photo from wikimedia commons
He reported to Fleet Replacement Aviation Maintenance Program (FRAMP) working on the Grumman EA-6B Intruder aircraft while waiting for his assigned Squadron VAQ 131 Lancers to return from deployment on the USS Kitty Hawk CV 63.

While attached to FRAMP Mark learned how to operate Navy Computers.

He also got additional training in Aircraft Electrical Systems which covered the Aircraft Caution and Warning Systems, Fuel System, Flight Controls, Electrical Power Generation and Control, Lighting Systems, and Electrical Power Generation to the Jammer Pods.

The electrical systems on an aircraft are similar to the nerves of the body; they provide the pathways to interconnect the various sensors, actuators to the controls and displays.

EA-6B Prowler near Mt Baker
Photo from wikimedia commons
Mark was trained to maintain the EA-6B Prowler, an Electronic Warfare and Command-and-Control aircraft for air strike missions.

The EA-6B went into service on aircraft carriers in July of 1971 and is considered a high maintenance aircraft.

Mark's Squadron, VAQ131 Lancers had four EA-6B's assigned to it and while deployed on the carriers usually had three flying and one down for maintenance.

Mark shipped on two of the three Kitty Hawk class carriers during his Navy career. The USS Kitty Hawk CV-63 and the USS America CV-66. These were oil-fired ships and have both been decommissioned from service.

During Active service the carriers were run by 5,624 Officers and men known as the Black Shoes plus the Air Wing known as the Brown Shoes. The Black Shoes maintain and operate the ship while the Brown Shoes of the Air Wing maintain and operate all the assigned aircraft. Mark's Air Wing CVW 11 maintained and flew approximately 70 aircraft consisting of assorted fixed wings plus Helicopters.

Post Chaplin Larry Fischer presents Zenor
with a Certificate of Appreciation
Photo by Jerry Pickard
Mark showed parts of the movie "Top Gun" during his presentation that illustrated typical flight operations and what has to be done to launch and recover aircraft on the flight deck.

During deployments flight operations are conducted 24/7 with the exception when foul weather makes it too dangerous to fly.

Mark observed the bow of the ship rising and falling seventy feet while operating in the South China Sea in heavy storms.

After Mark's presentation Chaplin Larry Fischer presented him with a Certificate Of Appreciation.



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