Story by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder for 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs – FORWARD OPERATING BASE WOLVERINE, Afghanistan – Sgt. Jose Esperacion, an aircraft electrician with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Diamond Head, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, and a resident of Waipahu, Hawaii, will receive the 2012 Army Aviation Association of America Avionics Award during the AAAA Aircraft Survivability Professional Forum in Huntsville, Ala., Nov. 6.
Esperacion earned this award for going above and beyond for two separate tasks involving the intercommunication systems of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The ICS system allows the flight crew to be able to talk with each other within the aircraft without transmitting over the radios.
“It is a real honor to receive this award,” said Esperacion. “I was not expecting to win this award. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be chosen for this award.”
After repairing several ICS cords, Esperacion realized the need for an efficient means to test the cords without the use of an aircraft. He drafted the design for the box, acquired the necessary parts and assembled on ICS cord tester box.
“It’s not an uncommon thing for a crew chief to come to my shop with a broken ICS cord,” said Esperacion. “I remember using the tester from my last unit and remembered how convenient it was to have. So I drafted and assembled one for our shop. It took me a couple of hours to build it.”
Esperacion provided his shop a quick and effective way to test their work and greatly reduced the man hours spent to provide the flight crews with fully functional equipment.
He also took the lead for the task of installing a 12-point ICS modification to a UH-60 Black hawk. Since the modification does not have any step-by-step instructions, Esperacion set out to devise an efficient process to install the devices. He used a wiring diagram and his experience from prior installations at his last unit to begin the modification.
During the task, he taught all the soldiers in the avionics section how to install, test, and troubleshoot the 12-point ICS system.
“I knew how to do this modification because I completed about seven of them in my last unit,” said Esperacion. “During the task, I taught my co-workers and other non-commissioned officers in my shop how to install the 12-point ICS. With their assistance during the installation, the task was completed in 12 hours.”
After the completion of the installation, Esperacion and his team conducted an operational check on the system using the ICS tester box. The box showed a successful operational check for the system.
In addition to these 2 tasks, Esperacion proved to be a combat multiplier by coordinating and providing support with other maintenance shops to 31 aircraft that maintain an operational tempo in excess of 2,900 flight hours per month.
“He is a good leader for all junior soldiers to listen to and learn from as they progress in their military careers,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Graves, platoon sergeant, D/2-25 AVN, 25th CAB. “He is a mentor, coach and always looking for new ways to solve aircraft issues. My soldier has worked hard on maintaining aircraft in the avionic section here.”
Esperacion’s actions throughout the past year and deployment have earned him the honor to be the recipient of the 2012 Army Aviation Association of America Avionics Award.