NAVAL AIR FACILITY MISAWA, Japan (March 27, 2011) – Aviation Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Shunsuke Ueeda, left, of Tokyo, and Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Khanh Ngo, of San Jose, Calif., both attached to Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light 51, perform routine maintenance on the tail rotor of an SH-60B/F. The squadron repositioned to Naval Air Facility Misawa to support Operation Tomodachi. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jose Lopez, Jr. /Released)

NAVAL AIR FACILITY MISAWA, Japan - Sailors attached to Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light 51 (HSL-51) performed routine maintenance on the squadron’s SH-60B/F helicopters, March 27, 2011 at the squadron’s temporary home, here.

The Sailors, who normally operate from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, are performing the maintenance to ensure that the helicopters stay capable of performing the rigorous tasking the squadron receives in support of Operation Tomodachi.

“Maintenance is an on-going need,” said Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Andrew Clay, attached to HSL 51’s maintenance control department. “We have to do maintenance, and we’re supporting the humanitarian assistance effort. We’re getting into a routine now as everything returns a little bit back to normal.”

HSL-51 relocated to Naval Air Facility Misawa (NAFM) after the March 11, 2011 earthquake that caused a devastating tsunami on Japan’s eastern coast.

“It was chaotic at first, but we plan for these situations,” said Clay, a native of Ironton, Ohio. “We went from training and routine work, to assisting with a humanitarian and disaster relief effort.”

For the first time since arriving in Misawa, HSL 51 was able to perform a strictly routine maintenance flight. The Functional Check Flight (FCF) is performed after a helicopter has received service in the shop. This is done to make sure the helicopter functions as needed.

“After 175 hours of flight time we must inspect the helicopters,” continued Clay. “Once the helicopter is inspected, we conduct the FCF. We make sure that everything is functional, that the helo has no excessive vibrations.”