US Army, October 03, 2012 - CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas By Jaclyn Nix, AMC - For the first time in its 51 year history, Corpus Christi Army Depot welcomed a female maintenance test pilot.
CW2 Trina Moreno, a test pilot for the UH-60 Black Hawk, came to the depot in 2011 to help with crash battle damaged and recapitalized Black Hawks. She can be found in the hangar or on the flight line dressed in her ACUs performing inspections, test flights and the occasional aircraft delivery.
"I love that I get to fly every day and work on aircraft that I know will make a difference," she said.
She hopes to influence others in Army aviation by bringing her knowledge and experience to the field for the warfighters.
"When an aircraft happens to break, I can go out, troubleshoot it and get it flying again," she said. "I [can] take the experience I learned at CCAD and show the unit how to troubleshoot the aircraft to repair."
A 17-year Army aviation specialist, Moreno came to Corpus Christi Army Depot, or CCAD, from Fort Campbell, Ky., after serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan and after a devastating accident that left her husband as a quadriplegic. The U.S. Army and CCAD worked to secure a job for Moreno that would bring her and her family closer to their extended family in South Texas.
Moreno's job is to ensure helicopters remanufactured at CCAD are combat ready.
She inspects every inch and rivet of the Black Hawk with safety flight crews before the aircraft ever lifts off the ground. She ensures that the hundreds of new or remanufactured components and engines in each aircraft work properly with ground runs. After each hover and flight test, Moreno and the crew continually service the helicopter to ensure a perfect bird until it returns to the warfighters needing it the most.
"When I was a little girl my parents used to take me to air shows. I remember seeing the aviators, people in uniform and the helicopters and I knew then that [flying] is want I wanted to do," said Moreno.
"I started out as a mechanic and now I'm a pilot, which is awesome," she said. "We are starting to see a lot more females doing that, which is great."
One of Moreno's greatest achievements while working at the depot was assisting the CCAD team complete and deliver 50 recapitalized UH-60s to the warfighter, breaking the production record of CCAD Black Hawks in a given fiscal year. CCAD produces state-of-the-art UH-60 Black Hawks for the warfighter at the lowest possible cost to ensure the Army remains battle-ready and capable to maximize Army combat power.
The recap program involves the teardown of older model UH-60s to rebuild them with the best and latest technology and systems. Upon completion, each aircraft comes out equal to or better than a new UH-60L Black Hawk with a life extension of up to ten years.
"Working at CCAD is a great experience," said Moreno. "[Soldiers] are getting a great product."
Moreno is grateful for the women who have served before her, and optimistic for the women who will serve after her.
"I think it is important for women to strive in the military because women before us have strived to get us to where we are today," she said. "I'm thankful that I can pave the way for future female test pilots."
CCAD welcomed its second female maintenance test pilot in September. CW4 Tammy Stewart will assist CCAD as they replenish the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior for the Army.