June 2006 
Volume 05, Issue 2  
Main Feature

'Greatest job in the world'

Aerospace Ops teammates support Army in Iraq on Apache Longbow Crew Trainers

'Greatest job in the world'Embedded with a U.S. Army unit in Iraq, Boeing Aerospace Operations' David Hosea and Bruce Lowell both said they have "the greatest job in the world."

As members of an organization that's part of Integrated Defense Systems' Support Systems unit, Hosea and Lowell support the Army customer in Iraq on the AH-64D Apache Longbow Crew Trainer, a high-fidelity simulator used for individual pilot training and, when networked with other simulators, used for multiship-operations training and mission rehearsal. This device helps prepare the U.S. Army for combat.

"We provide the maintenance to support the Longbow Crew Trainer that the unit's instructor pilots use for training," said Hosea, site manager of Apache Longbow Crew Trainers in Iraq. "We give pilots a readiness-level simulator for training, so they're prepared to fly. Maybe someone is new to the unit or hasn't flown in a while. It's critical they're up to speed to go on a mission." Lowell, who serves as site lead, Hosea and their team also provide refresher training to the Army unit's instructor pilots in the on-site simulator in all aspects of the rotorcraft's flight deck instruments and avionics.

The team works to keep the pilots' skills sharp by having them practice combat tactics and critical scenarios they might experience during a mission. For example, they practice bad-weather flight, and for radio, engine or power failures.

Their job is more involved than just serving the customer on site. It's a camaraderie shared with the unit and pitching in to help the customer in any way they can with limited resources.

"I can't think of another job that requires so many different skills," said Lowell, who joined Boeing in 2002 after serving 21 years in the U.S. Army. "You have to be a software engineer, a computer technician and an electrician. You have to be a jack-of-all-trades."

What's their biggest challenge in the heart of combat? "Our biggest challenge is communications," said Hosea, who joined Boeing eight years ago after serving in the U.S. Army, Army National Guard and U.S. Air Force. "We often have communication blackouts, so the telephone contact and Internet capabilities can be limited."

Hosea and Lowell can't stress enough the rewards of supporting the customer in Iraq.

"I feel like we're helping keep people alive," Lowell said. "It's so rewarding to train pilots in the simulator to where they confidently can do the things they need to do during a mission."

And they can't stress enough how rewarding the job is for them.

"The job is fun, interesting and never boring," Lowell said. "We have a team of great, talented people who are so good at what they do. Boeing really is committed to doing a good job for the military." Added Hosea: "What is most rewarding is when the aviators tell us they appreciate us being here."

—Katherine Sopranos

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