MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
The Marine Attack Squadron 214 Black Sheep honored one of their plane captains by painting his name onto the squadron commander’s AV-8B Harrier, which was unveiled at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., May 13, 2010.
Cpl. Jonathan Prince, squadron powerline mechanic, now shares a name on the jet along with Lt. Col. Robert Schroder, squadron commanding officer, Sgt. Maj. Leonard Maldonado, squadron sergeant major, and Col. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, the iconic Black Sheep World War II ace.
“Not a lot of people get to have their names on the plane,” said Prince, 23, smiling as he looked at the polished Harrier outside the squadron’s hangar.
While a plane captain’s name on a jet is not an uncommon sight, Prince’s name bears special meaning because of its placement on the squadron’s specially printed Harrier.
“Being that it’s our flagship bird, any time we have a static display for air shows, that’ll be the primary aircraft on display,” said Capt. Charles George, Prince’s officer in charge.
Plane captains’ responsibilities are monumental, said George. From the time they step out onto the flight line until they salute the pilot taxiing off, they are in charge of the Harrier. The plane captains go over the Harrier to examine any discrepancies before flying. Their thoroughness can determine whether a pilot makes it back to the flight line.
During his deployment to Afghanistan, Prince, a native of Lexington, N.C., located an engine problem that nearly went undiscovered. The damage was such that the Harrier, and its pilot, may have been lost.
“In my mind, his actions saved the life of a pilot and an asset for the United States Marine Corps,” said George.
The unveiling coincided with an event celebrating the squadron’s heritage.
“The history and success of the squadron is something I am very proud of,” said Prince. “I’m grateful to all the Black Sheep, past and present, who have served and make the squadron what it is today.”