Each year, DynCorp International team members working in support of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) gather to recognize the efforts of their maintenance technician team.
Recently several DI pilots working at Columbia Air Attack Base nominated base mechanic, Michael Silva, for the Mechanic of the Year Award, awarded by DI and CAL FIRE program leadership.
“Mike’s work ethic and unmatched attention to detail are truly incredible. He spends hours every day inspecting, greasing, and fixing even the most minor items regardless if the temperatures are over 100 degrees in the middle of the afternoon. He just never seems to stop or run out of energy! It’s not an exaggeration to say he inspects our aircraft with a flashlight and a mirror, or is continually checking our planes as we hot-load, or spends late hours until he is absolutely satisfied it is perfect. His unwavering energy and constant care gives us the confidence to know we are flying an impeccably maintained and safe aircraft, so we can focus on the job,” said DynCorp International pilot, Rich Schlink.
The Columbia Air Attack Base pilots even had “I like Mike” shirts made to show their appreciation for Silva’s work.
“There is a true sense of respect and camaraderie between the DI aerial firefighting pilots and the DI maintenance providers, which is an integral part of this program’s success,” said Jeffrey Cavarra, DynCorp International program director. “I even joke with them about the shirts but they love wearing them!”
The award ceremony will take place in May 2015 and nominations are taken throughout the year.
DynCorp International and the CAL FIRE Program
DynCorp International has worked with CAL FIRE since 2001 helping suppress and control wild land fires in California.
As part of the program, DI flies and maintains Grumman S-2T fire retardant air tankers and OV-10A aircraft, and fully maintains and services civilian UH-1H Super Huey helicopters flown by CAL FIRE pilots. Operating from across California, aircraft can reach most fires within 20 minutes. The OV-10A aircraft fly over fires, directing the air tankers and helicopters to critical areas for retardant and water drops. The retardant used to slow or retard the spread of a fire is a slurry mix consisting of a chemical salt compound, water, clay or a gum-thickening agent, and a coloring agent.
All CAL FIRE Aircraft are strategically located throughout the state at airbases and helicopter bases. During high fire activity, CAL FIRE may move aircraft to better provide statewide air support.
The department’s firefighters, fire engines, and aircraft respond to an average of more than 5,600 wild land fires each year. Those fires burn more than 172,000 acres annually.