The life of a maintainer isn’t easy. The hours are long and the work is hard. And right now, with members deployed, only one person can be on leave at once. When those who are downrange return, only 10 percent can be on leave at once.
“I have a three-month-old that I see three hours a day,” one Airman said around a bite of a hastily made sandwich during a short lunch break, his hands stained dark with oil and dirt of a good shift’s work.
So what makes it worth it?
For Airman 1st Class Wesley Bedford of Granada Hills, Calif., there’s something satisfying about watching your handiwork take off into the wild blue yonder.
“I love working the line. I think working the line has its ups and down. But I love the atmosphere, I love being hands-on, and I love seeing the end product of what I fix.”
But when asked what motivates them, most maintainers will agree that the camaraderie keeps them going.
“Even when you work long hours, it goes fast because of the people you are with,” said Senior Airman Jason Tavares, a crew chief in the End of Runway crew, a last checkpoint for the aircraft and pilots before they jet off into the sky. “The people make the job.”