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MX Give Airmen Close-Up Jet Experience

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Richard Mekkri
  • 389th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron

The 389th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron is giving Airmen a hands-on experience with the F-15E Strike Eagle during their “Maintainer for a Day” program. 

“The overall goal of the program is to bring Airmen from other Air Force Specialty Codes to the flight line to show them how they help support the wing mission,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jason D. Lewis, Senior Enlisted Leader, 389 EFGS. 

Maintainer for a Day pairs Airmen from various work centers around the base to shadow maintainers within the EFGS as they perform the day-to-day duties. Some of the maintenance sections involved include: crew chiefs, weapons, engines, electrical and environmental, avionics, and the phase inspection dock. 

The first Airman to participate in the program was Senior Airman Hector J. Gomez, Jr., 332d Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Management Flight, also known as POL for petroleum, oils and lubricants.

“Being a maintainer for a day was a really awesome experience,” said Gomez. “It helped me see what it is like to work on an F-15 as a crew chief and get a different perspective.”

Gomez, who was paired with a crew chief for the program, said it is sometimes difficult to see how what he does connects to the wing’s mission. He said the program helped him tie the pieces together.

“Being POL, all we do is drive up to the aircraft, pump fuel to it, and drive off,” said Gomez. “This time I got to see more than that—being around the jet made me feel like what I do actually means something.”

Lewis said that the program helps provide an immersive experience for Airmen and develops a stronger connection to the generation of combat airpower. He also said that one of the selling points of the program is the opportunity to see the Strike Eagle take off. Gomez agrees. 

“The most exciting takeaway was watching an F-15 takeoff from the runway with full afterburner at night,” said Gomez. “Usually I don’t see that since I work day shift at my home station…so that was pretty cool!”

The Maintainer for a Day program is scheduled to run for the duration of the Thunderbolt deployment.