Recent News

Airman 1st Class Caroline Karaverdian, 9th Medical Group outpatient technician, files a folder in the patient health record department at the clinic at Beale Air Force Base, California, Feb. 4, 2020. On June 20 the 9th MDG will be going all-digital by transitioning to a new electronic health record called Military Health System GENESIS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)
Department of Defense Military Health System GENESIS logo (Courtesy Graphic)
Senior Airman Jennifer Carrier, assigned to the 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Detachment 1 as the unit deployment manager, stands in front of a Globalhawk on Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Jan. 31, 2020. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman Jason W. Cochran)
Airman 1st Class Joshua Chatman, 9th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment specialist, places a strain relief cord back into an oxygen mask hose after cleaning it out, Jan. 22, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. To ensure oxygen masks are properly functioning, aircrew flight equipment specialists inspect them every 30 days. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)
Airman 1st Class Maggie Breedlove, 9th Operations Support aircrew flight equipment specialist, measures and cuts Velcro pieces that will be placed in the inside of a flyers lightweight helmet, Jan. 22, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. These pieces of Velcro will attach an energy absorbing liner to the helmet. The purpose of an energy absorbing liner is to reduce impact energy to the head of a pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)
Wrenches lie in an aircraft mechanic’s toolbox at Beale Air Force Base, California, Jan. 27, 2020. Mechanics are vital to ensuring the readiness of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance flying operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)
Wesley Dietrich, 9th Maintenance Operation Squadron aircraft mechanic, runs an air speed test on a T-38 Talon at Beale Air Force Base, California, Jan. 27, 2020. A group of civilian contractors prepare T-38s for their daily flying schedules by refueling and inspecting the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)
Wesley Dietrich, 9th Maintenance Operation Squadron aircraft mechanic, looks into a T-38 Talon cockpit during an air speed test at Beale Air Force Base, California, Jan. 27, 2020. This test measures the aircraft’s speed with a static tube system, which can determine the speed of the air flowing around the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)
Wesley Dietrich, 9th Maintenance Operation Squadron aircraft mechanic, clicks a switch on a pressure-temperature test device at Beale Air Force Base, California, Jan. 27, 2020. The T-38s are part of the Companion Trainer Program for U-2 Dragon Lady pilots. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)
Wesley Dietrich, 9th Maintenance Operation Squadron aircraft mechanic, looks into a T-38 Talon cockpit at Beale Air Force Base, California, Jan. 27, 2020. The T-38 is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles because of its ease of maintenance, elevated performance, and exceptional safety record. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)

Chief's Corner

I am an American Airman

Too often I hear the statement, “The Air Force has no tradition…certainly not like the other services.” Or there’s the comment, “The Air Force changes everything all the time.  New uniforms, AFI’s, etc….how can we expect to maintain any heritage or tradition?”
I submit there is one decisive, deliberate, and motivating action each of us can take.  No matter the position you hold, the grade you wear, or if you are active duty, guard, reserve, retired, every single one of us can implement this small, yet powerful change today.  The change refers to a facet of our current culture.
Malcolm Gladwell speaks about culture change in his book, ‘Tipping Point’.  In his book, the author posits that even the smallest adjustments to habits, routines, or attitudes can have a significant impact on the culture or perception of an organization, population, or product.
Therefore, I challenge everyone to stop referring to members of our Air Force as ‘TROOPS’. 
According to Merriam-Webster, the primary definition of the word troop is:
a. A group of soldiers
b. A cavalry unit corresponding to an infantry company
c. A flock of mammals or birds
I understand a definition is literal, however, there are two problems with the way we throw this term around to refer to our Airmen.  First, the word troop is actually plural…referring to a group of soldiers.  Lastly, and most poignantly, the word troop is actually rooted in a tradition and heritage of another service.  And before we start the “But Chief, we were born out of the Army” conversation, I would ask you to consider a few points. 
We were born out of the Army for a reason.  We fulfill several needs that no other organization can: to keep up with advancing technology and to take warfighting to an entirely different level, both geographically and mentally.  The Army and Navy were long-time competitors for military leadership and neither service thought that the other should take on the new tasks of strategic deterrence missions associated with the advent of the atomic bomb.  This, along with many other great reasons, is why our Air Force, and our AIRMEN were created.
Think about it.  The United States Air Force was created for some of the most sophisticated warfare challenges of the time. 
So, let’s continue the tradition born in 1947 and call each other what we truly are.  Please, call me Airman.

Chief Hall

 

 

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ArticleCS

No Margin For Error

Airman 1st Class Robert Dumbeck (left), 9th Maintenance Squadron aircrew egress systems journeyman, and Tech. Sgt. Cody Clark 9th MXS aircrew egress systems craftsman, inspect an egress seat D-ring before installing a D-ring guard, Jan. 16, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. When a pilot pulls the D-ring, it fires an initiator that sends gas pressure to explosives. Each of these explosives fire at different items like the lap belt, inertia reel, and foot retractors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)

Airman 1st Class Robert Dumbeck (left), 9th Maintenance Squadron aircrew egress systems journeyman, and Tech. Sgt. Cody Clark 9th MXS aircrew egress systems craftsman, inspect an ejection seat D-ring before installing a D-ring guard, Jan. 16, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. When a pilot pulls the D-ring, it fires an initiator that sends gas pressure to explosives. Each of these explosives fire at different items like the lap belt, inertia reel, and foot retractors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)

Airman 1st Class Robert Dumback, 9th Maintenance Squadron aircrew egress systems journeyman, installs a D-ring guard on a U-2 Dragon Lady egress seat Jan. 14, 2020 at Beale Air force Base, California. A D-ring is the component of an egress seat that a pilot pulls to eject. The purpose of a D-ring guard is to protect the D-ring and prevent the accidental activation of an egress seat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)

Airman 1st Class Robert Dumbeck, 9th Maintenance Squadron aircrew egress systems journeyman, installs a D-ring guard on a U-2 Dragon Lady ejection seat Jan. 14, 2020 at Beale Air force Base, California. A D-ring is the component of an ejection seat that a pilot pulls to eject. The purpose of a D-ring guard is to protect the D-ring and prevent the accidental activation of an ejection seat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)

9th Maintenance Squadron aircrew egress Airmen install a U-2 Dragon Lady egress seat, Jan. 16, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. To guarantee the proper functioning of egress systems, these professionals perform maintenance regularly, conduct full diagnostic inspections of egress systems, check for any broken components, and swap out any time-changeable items that have expired.

9th Maintenance Squadron aircrew egress Airmen install a U-2 Dragon Lady ejection seat, Jan. 16, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. To guarantee the proper functioning of egress systems, these professionals perform maintenance regularly, conduct full diagnostic inspections of egress systems, check for any broken components, and swap out any time-changeable items that have expired.

Intricate components located the bottom of an egress seat, waiting to be installed to a U-2 Dragon Lady, Jan. 14, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. If a pilot ever needs to eject from an aircraft, gas pressure will be sent through these hoses and to the explosives so that a pilot can escape the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)

Intricate components located the bottom of an ejection seat, waiting to be installed to a U-2 Dragon Lady, Jan. 14, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. If a pilot ever needs to eject from an aircraft, gas pressure will be sent through these hoses and to the explosives so that a pilot can escape the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

When a plane goes down, an ejection seat keeps pilots from going down with it. Ejecting from an ejection seat is not something a pilot wants to do, but it is something they have to do in case of an emergency where everything else in an aircraft fails. It is their last chance at survival, and their lives rest on the hands of aircrew egress system specialists.

These professionals make sure all aircraft egress systems at Beale are properly functioning.

“We inspect and maintain around 40 egress systems from U-2s, TU-2s, and T-38s,” said Staff Sgt. Cody Clark, 9th Maintenance Squadron aircrew egress craftsman.

Being responsible for inspecting and maintaining around 40 egress systems from these different aircraft keeps the aircrew egress shop busy.

“We try to schedule anywhere from two to three seats in a typical week,” said Staff Sgt. Clark, “and that’s not including unscheduled maintenance that could pop up and that could be anywhere from zero to five.”

Knowing that a life is on the line if something isn’t done right puts a lot of pressure on Airmen working on egress systems.

“It’s important that I do my job right because if I don’t do my job properly and a pilot does eject he could die and that’s on me, then I’d have to live knowing that there’s a guy who lost his life because I didn’t do my job right,” said Senior Airmen Steven Phelps, 9th Maintenance Squadron aircrew egress journeyman.

For aircrew egress systems Airmen, there is no margin for error. Airmen at the egress shop rely on each other to make sure the job gets done and the lives of pilots are potentially saved.

“It’s a bit scary knowing that a pilot’s life is at stake,” said Staff Sgt. Clark. “But I feel overall confident knowing that our crew executed everything perfectly because we do not settle for anything less than perfection.”

Mid-Air Collision Avoidance

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