One of the more interesting jobs in the Marine Corps is the Harrier Jet Support Specialist. The Harriet Jet specialist is responsible for working on the latest state of the art AV-8B Harrier II Plus Jump Jet. Working on the Harrier is an intensive operation, with a lot of man hours involved. The Harrier has a proud 30-year tradition serving in the Marine Expeditionary Forces; the United States Marine Corps is the only force in the Armed Services that fly the Harrier. The Marine Corps have the Harrier because in the early 1970s the Marines were looking for an aircraft to support their forces, which are the first to go into battle. A Lieutenant General in the Marines traveled to the United Kingdom, and test flew the UK Harrier and was convinced of its ability, and the American Marine Corps Harrier Jump jet was born.
The mechanics that support the Harrier are especially busy, as it is the most labor intensive aircraft in the United States arsenal. The Harrier can take off and land vertically, and it has a lot of labor involved to keep it in the air. For every four hours of flight time, an average of 100 hours of Maintenance is needed to keep each Marine Corps Harrier in the Air. The Marines are currently using Harrier AV-8B jets in both Afghanistan and in Iraq successfully. A mechanic for a Harrier is on call 24 hours a day seven days a week, especially when their unit is deployed to a forward battle area. A mechanic who works on the Harrier provides technical support and repair for any of the issues involved to help keep the Harrier in the Air.
The Mechanic for a Harrier Jump jet has to first attend Marine Corps Basic combat training, where they learn the basics of military form and how to be a Marine Corps Rifleman. After Basic Training you will advance to a technical school where you will spend approximately 17 weeks learning how to maintain, inspect, and perform both routine maintenance and in depth repair on all the different AV-8B mechanical and flight systems. You will work to learn engine and avionics repair, as well as training on the different weapons and flight fuselage systems that make the Harrier the most unique aircraft currently flying for the United States.