October 13, 2015

The Airmen who keep us flying

Staff Sgt. Greg Ferreira
162nd Wing Public Affairs
Air National Guard photo by Airman Mae Olson
Senior Airman Solano Leon, 162nd Wing Maintenance Group, blends the leading edge flap panels for an F-16. This process ensures the surfaces are smooth to expand the life of the panels.

TUCSON, Ariz. — The aircraft that protect America’s skies do not fly solely on hopes and dreams. Rather, it’s the diligence and determination of the 162nd Wing’s hard-working maintenance group who keep Arizona’s F-16 Falcons in the air.

Full-time aircraft maintenance technicians are in high demand, and Guard Airmen have an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities during the week.

There are currently 59 technician vacancies within the maintenance group, said Lt. Col. Sandra Wilson, 162nd Maintenance Group Deputy Commander.

While Air Force-related endeavors have seemingly focused on special operations units, unmanned aerial vehicles and cybersecurity issues, the many occupations of jet-fighter maintainers will continue to serve a vital role in America’s defensive posture.

“There is a future in the Maintenance Group of the 162nd Wing,” said Wilson.

Airmen are recognizing this chance to perform skills learned from tech school as full time technicians.
After having a successful retail career for a decade, Airman 1st Class Erik Garcia grew frustrated with lack of advancement potential. Seeing the doors open for family members here made him realize that a full-time career in maintenance is, in the words of a crew chief, “a golden opportunity,” he said.

“Coming out here, taking apart a jet, and then putting it back together the right way, seeing it take off and land gives me a lot of pride,” said Garcia, adding that before he joined the wing, his mechanical experience extended to just changing oil in cars.

Garcia is currently on temporary technician status, working on qualifications that will qualify him a full- time position.

Although possessing technological skill-sets that keep jets airborne, the many maintenance disciplines within the group offer a higher calling for many Guard Airmen.

“If you can muster in your heart to care for Airmen, the sky is the limit with leadership potential,” said Col. Jeffrey Butler, 162nd Maintenance Group Commander. “There is nothing more satisfying than leading.”

A desire to work on the aircraft is a must for someone looking to join the maintenance group, and according to Senior Master Sgt. Dave Davis, inspection element supervisor, this quality is just as important as technical expertise.

“Though you have to be mechanically minded, you have to want to work on aircraft. It requires launching, recovering, reinstalling, inspecting and servicing indifferent types of weather elements,” he added.

The maintenance group is a crucial element in keeping fellow Airmen safe. Safety and risk management knowledge is a staple to the maintenance career field.

“Another person’s life depends on the maintenance that you perform,” said Davis.

If you are interested in finding out more information on what it takes to be a 162nd Wing Maintenance Group technician, call 520-295-6698.

All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.



Boeing, Cathay Pacific to donate world’s 1st 777 to Aviation Museum

Boeing and Cathay Pacific announced today that they are donating the first-ever Boeing 777 airplane to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Arizona, one of the world’s largest facilities devoted to celebrating aerospace. The iconic airplane (line number WA001 and registered B-HNL) flew from Cathay Pacific’s home airport in Hong Kong to Tucson, Arizona...
Air National Guard photograph by Staff Sgt. George Keck

Arizona Air National Guard’s first deployment in 31 years

Air National Guard photograph by Staff Sgt. George Keck Staff Sgt. Luke Arandules, a 195th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, Arizona Air National Guard, performs a final inspection for debris around the intake of an F-16 Fi...
Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Michael X. Beyer

AF spouses learn valuable resiliency skills

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Michael X. Beyer Military spouses attend a resiliency class at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Sept. 7, 2018. The class focused on providing tools to spouces to help deal with the c...