Maintaining the fleet is part of history and national security

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Clifford Waller
  • 932nd Airlift Wing
I recently had the opportunity to be a witness to living history at the 40th
Bomber Group Reunion held in Saint Louis.

I listened to some of the most amazing stories told by
some of the most amazing men and
women from "The Greatest Generation". 

As I listened to them, I couldn't help but
think of the outstanding maintainers from
our wing who are making history
themselves, and probably don't even
realize it. 

We have maintainers engaged every day supporting the war fighter in
places around the world. 

Without these members, planes don't fly, which in turn
means that patients don't get moved,
humanitarian aid is not delivered, and
supplies do not make it to the drop zone. 

In short, without these outstanding
maintainers, the Air Force commitment to
the war fighter would be negatively

The people present at the reunion
understand these concepts, because they
have lived through them. They too had
maintainers ensuring their B-29 planes were
mission ready. Throughout Air Force
history, maintainers have played a crucial
role not only in war time, but in day to day
operations. Our folks here support a
mission that is integral to the governing of
our country and ability to conduct
international relations. 

Not so long ago, and even
sometimes in present day America, aircraft
mechanics have been classified as blue collar
workers. This is an unfair categorization to
the men and women in uniform, serving their
nation in a unique way. It's hard for some
people to understand, but if the wrench
wasn't turned, the rivet not placed, and the
engine not scoped, the country would be at
a deficit to complete its daily mission. 

So the next time you see a maintainer dirty, covered in oil, grease, and
their uniform wrinkled from being on their
back under a jet, reserve your initial
judgment, and remember that you are
looking at a person integral to our national
security and war fighting mission.

(Lt. Col. Waller is the 932nd Maintenance Squadron commander)