PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 6, 2011) Aircraft Maintenance Airman Johnny Quintong performs a leak check on a newly installed hydraulic line in the nose drag brace of one an F/A-18C Hornets assigned to the Blue Diamonds of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146. (U.S. Navy Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Melissa Russell)

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 28, 2011) - The Blue Diamonds of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146 were recently awarded the 2010 Lt. j.g. Bruce Carrier Memorial Award for Maintenance Excellence.

The award is given to highlight the importance of quality maintenance practices. “This award is a testament to the pride, professionalism and talent that exists throughout the command,” said Cmdr. Tom Frosch, VFA-146 commanding officer. “A year of hard work went into winning this award, especially taking into account our personnel turnover and arduous schedule. It illustrates the dedication of our Blue Diamond Sailors.”

Winning the 2010 Carrier Award is nothing new to the Blue Diamonds. They were also named the most outstanding maintenance squadron in 2009.

“Earning this award back-to-back—it doesn’t get any better than that,” said Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman Chris Eastridge, the VFA-146 maintenance master chief petty officer. “The most important part of this award for us is knowing our maintenance ensures we will bring back the air crew every time.”

Being named the squadron with the best maintenance performance means a lot to the squadron maintainers who work daily on the aircraft.

“It’s great to be part of such an amazing team,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Shawn Collins, a VFA-146 technician. “We work on some of the oldest jets, so to keep them flying shows our hard is paying off.”

VFA 146, which flies the F/A-18C Hornet, one of the oldest aircraft actively flying in the Navy, competed against seven other VFA squadrons to win the award. The Carrier Award was named after an aviator who was unable to eject from his damaged aircraft while trying to return to the USS Hancock (CV-19), in 1975, because of a defective ejection mechanism, and symbolizes the significance of proper maintenance.

“The Carrier Award recognizes maintainers, and they deserve all the recognition they get,” Eastridge said.

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is comprised of USS Ronald Reagan, guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, which includes USS Preble (DDG 88). Embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 includes the "Black Knights" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, the "Argonauts" of VFA-147, the "Blue Diamonds" of VFA-146, the "Death Rattlers" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139, the "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.

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