Brooklyn-born Petty Officer Third Class Siarhei Palaukou is the eys and ears of the navy, serving with a U.S. Navy squadron that flies one of the Navy’s most advanced aircraft, one with an important mission: keeping watch over the skies and oceans of the world. Palaukou serves with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, also known as the “Bluetails,” which operates out of Norfolk.
Palaukou works as a logistics specialist, which is responsible for ordering, receiving, inspecting, stowing, preserving, packaging, shipping, and issuing materials and cargo. He is also responsible for accounting of government materials, preparing and maintaining required forms, records, correspondence, reports, and files.
“I like that in my job there is always a learning experience as you go,” Palaukou said.
The Hawkeye is a carrier-based aircraft, taking off from and landing on Navy aircraft carriers at sea. Using powerful radar and an array of advanced sensors, the twin-turboprop aircraft and its crew of five can remain in the air for hours, scanning the skies, detecting potential airborne and surface threats, and relaying real-time information to other Navy aircraft and ships operating in the area.
“The organization and professionalism here is great,” Palaukou said.
The E-2D provides the Navy with a variety of other capabilities as well, including the ability to conduct search and rescue operations, communications relay, close air support coordination, and drug interdiction. The Hawkeye can fly at nearly 350 miles-per-hour at altitudes up to 30,000 feet.
“The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is a complex system and requires the full effort of every Bluetail sailor to maintain the aircraft in full mission capable status,” said Cmdr. Mike Finn, commanding officer. “Our aircrew, maintainers, and admin support personnel are the best this country has to offer. Their expertise ensures that VAW-121 continues to be successful.”
With more than 150 sailors assigned to the squadron, jobs are highly specialized and designed to keep each part of the Hawkeye running smoothly. Whether training new aviators, maintaining airframes and engines, processing paperwork, or handling and flying the aircraft, the key to success is teamwork.
“Serving in the Navy has allowed me to see the world and enjoy life in ways I couldn’t possibly imagine before joining,” Palaukou said.
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