Photo Information

Cpl. James Ganieany, an airframe mechanic with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and a native of Saint Charles, Ill., is a supervisor and a colateral duty inspector maintianing the airframe, metal, fiber glass, hydrolics and landing gear of the CH-53E Super Stallion. Ganieany went from a high school student in his home town to becoming a Marine airframe mechanic the next year. The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Codey Underwood

From high school to Marine airframe mechanic in one year

9 Sep 2012 | Lance Cpl. Codey Underwood

One year he was in high school, the next he was a Marine working on CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter airframes, supporting mission accomplishment in the Asia-Pacific region.

Cpl. James Ganieany, an airframe mechanic with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and a native of Saint Charles, Ill. is a supervisor and a collateral duty inspector for the maintenance of the airframe, metal, fiber glass, hydrolics and landing gear of Super Stallion helicopters.

The CH-53E Super Stallion is the largest and heaviest helicopter in the United States military weighing up to 73,000 lbs with the transport capacity of over 40 Marines. The CH-53E has played a major role in the Marine Corps’ amphibious raid capability by transporting troops quickly from sea to the on-shore objective.

Ganieany’s father was also in the Marine Corps, joining to become a helicopter mechanic before ultimately becoming a scout sniper. The younger Ganieany wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“My dad would always tell me, ‘The world is as big as you make it, it can be the size of your backyard or the size of the entire world,’” said Ganieany. “My father was one of the main people who influenced me to join the Marines.”

Once his decision was solid in his mind, Ganieany introduced himself to a Marine recruiter. He was then tasked to choose a Military Occupational Specialty, and he settled on one that was originally preferred by his father: an airframe mechanic.

“I wanted to do something where I worked with my hands,” said Ganieany. “I chose to be an airframe mechanic, and months later they sent me to boot camp.”

After successfully graduating from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in January 2009 and Marine Combat Training in March of the same year, Ganieany then attended his MOS school, an eight-month long course in Pensacola, Fla.

His first assignment following completion of MOS training was to Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina in November 2009. With his unit attached to the 31st MEU as part of the Aviation Combat Element in 2012, Ganieany has deployed several times within the Asia-Pacific region.

 Now in his fourth year in the Marine Corps, Ganieany is a corporal in a leadership position where he has shown junior Marines the ropes of maintaining and repairing the structure of the Super Stallions.

“I enjoy getting to teach other Marines who don’t have much experience with airframes and how to work with the systems,” said Ganieany. “I help keep those helicopters up and running, allowing them to conduct any task needed for mission accomplishment.”

Not only does Ganieany work on helicopter airframes, but in his billet he also leads a team of highly-competent mechanics himself.

“If I have something that is going wrong or have a question about my job, (Ganieany)will help me out by putting the technical solution in words that I understand,” said Lance Cpl. Jessica Berban, airframe mechanic with HMM-262 and a native of Santa Maria, Calif.

Air mobility has enormous benefits in combat, and Ganieany and his crew help ensure the helicopters are up for the task, no matter where his unit is assigned.

The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.


31st Marine Expeditionary Unit