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Hinesville Native keeps Navys newest helicopters flying
Hinesville native and Bradwell Institute grad Petty Officer First Class Timothy James is an aviation mechanic working on the Navys newest and most advanced helicopter fleet. - photo by Mass Communications Spec. 1st Class Robert Zahn

A 2002 Bradwell Institute graduate and Hinesville native is serving with a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron that flies the Navy’s newest and most technologically-advanced helicopter.

Petty Officer First Class Timothy James is an aviation structural mechanic with the “Vipers” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 48, a Mayport, Florida-based squadron that operates the Navy’s next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk. Each helicopter is nearly 65 feet long, may weigh up to 23,500 pounds and can travel more than 120 miles per hour for nearly 320 miles on a tank of gas.

As an aviation structural mechanic, James is responsible for working on the structure of the aircraft, hydraulics, flight controls and making sure the aircraft are safe for flight.

“I took auto shop in high school and that translated easily when I started working on aircraft,” said James.

According to Navy officials, the MH-60R is the most capable multi-mission helicopter available in the world today. It is used for a variety of missions, including hunting and tracking enemy submarines, attacking enemy ships, search and rescue, drug interdiction, delivering supplies and supporting the Navy’s special operations forces.

It is replacing the Navy’s older helicopters because of its greater versatility and more advanced weapon systems. 

James said he is proud to be part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.

“I served as a detachment leading petty officer on a seven-month deployment and was awarded with a Navy Achievement Medal,” he said.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied within the squadron. Approximately 297 Navy men and women are assigned and keep all parts of the squadron running smoothly. This includes everything from maintaining helicopter airframes and engines, to processing paperwork, handling weapons and flying the aircraft. 

“I wanted to serve my country and see different countries. The Navy has allowed me to do that,” said James.

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