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Showing posts from February, 2019

Smoke doesn't always mean fire Part I

This is the first post in the long final story that I will tell from my career in the Air Force. All the other stories up to this point were told so you, the reader, could understand how I was guided in my career to be prepared for the moment in this story.

The main character in this story has had his name changed to protect his identity as he is still active duty. He has given me permission [read:excitedly asked when I will write this] to tell this story.

In the summer of 2015 I was the specialist section chief in the 311th AMU at Holloman AFB. We had a few new arrivals to the section. Most of them were new avionics airmen, which we desperately needed. However, we did have an E&E SrA arrive who had a line number for Staff Sergeant. His name was SrA Tyler Perkie. He was respectful, polite and hard working. It was rare to not see him covered in aircraft filth, which is quite the compliment for the working sector of the Air Force. He was tireless at the job and his positive attitud…

When you meet a good leader you know it Part VI

In the beginning of this blog I tried to balance between stories of toxic leaders and stories of leaders that had made a positive impact on my career. Recently I've moved away from that balance to tell the long story that ended my career, and to address topics that were bothering me about the maintenance community or that I thought would have a catastrophic impact on maintenance. But it's time to bring some balance back to the blog.

In 2013 I was working in the 308th Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Luke Air Force Base. We had just climbed out of a maintenance death spiral and were moving in a good direction. I had a fantastic AMU Chief and a smart and hardworking AMU OIC.

Our Lead Production Superintendent was retiring, and they were bringing in a SMSgt I had never heard of before. Like our Chief, he was a PCS transplant, not a manning move from within MXG.

Most of the Lead Pro Supers I had known in my career were in varying states of stress. The jets were never cooperating, the…

Suicide is the symptom.

I want to preface this article by saying 'I am just an F-16 crew chief.' I do not have any medical training and all of these opinions are just that, opinions. I believe we have a suicide problem in the Air Force, and in aircraft maintenance in particular. Part of the problem is data is very hard to come by.  There is some data, and it even goes so far as to break down the determined method. However, the data is meta-data at best and doesn't explain all the nuances of each situation.

But the data to the right here is quite alarming. Almost half of all deaths [69 of 151] in the Air Force from August 2016 to August 2017 was caused by a self-inflicted injury. [Raise your hand if you just learned that half of the people that die in the Air Force committed suicide]

What prompted me to write about this subject now is that there have been two suicides in the same Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base in the last month. I don't have any details on the motiva…