Thursday, July 2, 2009

25th AMU "Crew Dogs" help get the mission accomplished

by Staff Sgt. Terri Barriere
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/2/2009 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- While it might seem like waking up every day and going to work knowing the fate of a multi-million dollar aircraft, a pilot's life and the Air Force mission are in your hands is a big responsibility, it's one tactical aircraft maintainer's take on every day.

Tactical aircraft maintainers, otherwise known as crew chiefs, are responsible for ensuring all maintenance on tactical aircraft is accomplished, they also maintain support equipment and forms and records.

"We are air power ... because without us, jets wouldn't make it off the ground. It's our maintenance and oversight that keeps them flying, and it's because of that we have one of the most critical missions on Osan," said Senior Airman Brady Christianson, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief.

Though no two days as a crew chief are exactly the same, among some of the primary daily duties of a crew chief are servicing aircraft, performing end of runway inspections, post-flight, pre-flight and phase inspections, as well as troubleshooting, aircraft structures, systems, components and related equipment.

Crew chiefs are also responsible for advising on problems maintaining; servicing and inspecting aircraft and related aerospace equipment; diagnosing and solving maintenance problems on aircraft systems; removing and installing aircraft components and supervising and performing aircraft jacking, lifting and towing operations.

"The bottom line is ... we maintain. We look after the general welfare of the aircraft," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Adams-Brady, 25th AMU crew chief. "At the end of the day, our job is to safely get fully mission capable aircraft up - by any means necessary."

And although "by any means necessary" means sometimes having to work long hours in the elements, sacrificing weekends and off time in order to get the mission accomplished, job satisfaction keeps the "crew dogs" moving full speed ahead.

"I don't mind the hard work and manual labor ... it's good exercise," said Senior Airman Michael Goulet. "We bust our butts all day, but at the end of the day it's all good ... it was all worth it. "When you've been working on a jet all week and finally at the end of the week it flies ... it was well worth the work."

Airman Goulet said he also takes pride in knowing that when a jet has gone up and come back, it was able to do its job because he did his.

Pride also motivates Senior Airman Bradly Christiansen who said he personally gets satisfaction from just knowing he's put in an honest day's work.

"Walking through the BX still dirty from work makes me feel good because I know I've earned my paycheck," he said. "You see folks stare ... but you know it's because you really worked hard that day."

However, while it might be job satisfaction that keeps Airmen Goulet and Christiansen motivated, for others it's the realization that the Air Force places a large responsibility in their hands.

"You really hold the pilot's life in your hand ... if you miss any little thing, something could happen to the pilot and the jet," said Staff Sgt. Derria Kemp, 25th AMU crew chief. "It's not the pilot's job to worry about whether or not the jet is good to go before he flies. They should be able to put total trust in us and our ability to do our job ... and that's a big responsibility, but even the new guys just jump right into it."

And though every crew chief deals with the stress of that responsibility on a daily basis, being at Osan offers another unique challenge for the crew dogs here.

"When you're at any other base that's not in a deployed location, your base is training for the real mission," said Sergeant Adams-Brady. "However, for us, the real mission is here and that keeps us a little more busy than usual because we have to make sure the jets are always in tip top shape and ready to go."

So what keeps the unit together when the job is especially tough? The crew dogs agree it's the bond between them.

Airman Christiansen said camaraderie keeps them together because they recognize they are all working hard to get the mission accomplished together.

"We work really hard, striving to meet the same goals ... as a family," he said. "We know what we do for the Air Force, and when we go to work in the morning, we know we are going to accomplish that together."

Airman 1st Class Matthew Henderson, 25th AMU assistant dedicated crew chief, prepares to launch A-10 177 from the flightline here June 23, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Terri Barriere) Hi-res

Crew chiefs from the 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit perform a post-flight inspection on an A-10 after its flight here June 23, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Terri Barriere) Hi-res

Left: Staff Sgt. LeThomas Lee, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chief, fixes a nose landing gear after a flight June 23, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Terri Barriere) Hi-res

Right: Airman 1st Class Matthew Henderson, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant dedicated crew chief, uses a flashlight to check the nose wheel on an A-10 during a post-flight isnpection here June 23, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Terri Barriere) Hi-res

Left: Staff Sgt. Christopher Moulton, 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chief, looks through a technical order before inspecting the intakes and exhaust on an A-10 June 23, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Terri Barriere) Hi-res


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