Yesterday we posted an article documenting Mike Dillon’s “other” company, Dillon Aero. It only makes sense to continue that conversation by discussing Mike’s impact on the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, or SOAR, which operates out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The 160th fills the need for expert helicopter support in extreme situations and on short notice. This Wikipedia page provides a good history of the 160th as does this official page from the United States Army Special Operations Command. The selection criteria for the 160th is strict with only the very best being considered for placement in the unit.
Prior to Mike Dillon’s involvement a typical setup for the 160th was to place two M134’s on either side of a helicopter. It was widely believed that the use of 4 M134’s merely increased firepower. The reality was a good bit more grim. The M134 was so unreliable that a backup gun was needed in the event that the primary gun failed. As much as the 160th relied on them, the M134’s were fast becoming a liability.
Enter Mike Dillon. Mike’s work with the M134 had led him to begin re-engineering various components. The first was the feeder/de-linker. Chris Dillon, Vice President of Dillon Aero explains; “The feeder/de-linker is a component of the gun that takes linked ammunition out of a magazine, separates and discards the link, then takes the cartridge and feeds it into the gun’s bolts. It does that process 50 times every second.” – See more
Members of the 160th became aware of Mike’s improvement of the M134 and contacted him to order the upgraded components. Over the years Dillon Aero’s redesign of the M134 became so thorough that failures and stoppages decreased dramatically. The M134 became the M134D and a weapon that was on the brink of being scrapped came to prominence in defending the men and women of the United States once again.
As usual Mike Dillon went above and beyond “just” making massive improvements in a system. He also provided the absolute best in support of that system. In the end Mike Dillon and the support that he provided was so appreciated by the members of the 160th that they made him an honorary member of the regiment.