Army Job Profile: 15U "Chinook" CH-47 Helicopter Repairer

The Chinook is one of the Army's most-utilized helicopters

Image by Melissa Ling © The Balance 2019 

 It's nice when an Army job title tells exactly what the job will entail. The CH-47 Helicopter Repairer, is, unsurprisingly, tasked with repairing these helicopters. Nicknamed the "Chinook," this aircraft is one of the heaviest the Army has and is used in numerous missions every year. This job gets the designation of military occupational specialty (MOS) 15U. 

History of the Chinook Helicopter

This transport chopper has been a part of the Army since the Vietnam War when it was instrumental in getting soldiers and supplies into mountainous regions of the island country.

The Chinook has two engines on each side of its rear pylon. Since it has counter-rotating rotors, it doesn't need the traditional overhead, or antitorque, vertical rotor. This gives it the power to lift and thrust without major changes to its center of gravity. This makes it ideal for lifting and dropping cargo, and is more stable as it hovers. And if one of its engines fails, the other engine can power both of its rotors. 

Duties for MOS 15U

These soldiers remove and install engines, rotors, gearboxes, transmissions and mechanical flight controls in the Chinook, and inspect all its parts, including wings, fuselage, and tail. 

Training Information for MOS 15U

Job training for a CH-47 helicopter repairer requires ten weeks of Basic Combat Training and 16 weeks of Advanced Individual Training at Fort Eustis in Virginia. You'll learn engine repair, including how to fix hydraulic, fuel and electrical systems, as well as how to repair aluminum, steel and fiberglass airframes and coverings. 

You'll need to score at least a 104 in the mechanical maintenance (MM) aptitude area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests, but there's no Department of Defense clearance required for MOS 15U. 

There are, however, a few factors that could make you ineligible for this job. A history of drug or alcohol use is disqualifying, as is the use of marijuana after age 18. Any documented instances of sale or possession of narcotics or other dangerous drugs also will disqualify you from this job. 

Similar Civilian Occupations to MOS 15U

While a lot of helicopter repairers go on to flight school and become pilots, not all do. You'll be well positioned for a variety of careers after leaving the Army. The most obvious is a potential career as an airframe or airline mechanic. But you'll also be eligible for a variety of mechanic jobs, and likely be qualified to work in a garage, auto body shop or auto dealership.