Who turned the lights out?

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christopher Callaway
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Imagine putting brakes on a car. Now turn the lights off and grab a flashlight. Putting brakes on any vehicle has its challenges, but doing so on an aircraft weighing over 100,000 pounds and worth more than $100 million that doesn't belong to you can increase the stress more than you think.

The Air Force Special Operations Command mission doesn't stop when the sun goes down. If anything the mission gets quicker and more challenging.

"I really enjoy working the mid-shift," said Senior Airman Nathalyn Lennon, a crew chief of the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. "We always have plenty of work to do. We are the first line of maintenance after the planes are done with night operation training."

There are many challenges when working on mid-shift such as appointments that are only available during normal operation hours and not being able to see your loved ones other than hello and goodbye when you return home from work. Even small details like not being able to go anywhere you want on your lunch break and having to provide lunch every day can increase stress.

"I enjoy the hours I work, but I just got married two months ago," said Senior Airman Fernando Kossler, a crew chief of the 4th AMU. "It gets hard not being able to see my wife other than short times here and there."

The Airmen that work for the 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron provides maintenance support at home station and while deployed anywhere anytime anyplace.
Maintenance personnel consisting of crew chiefs with a variety of systems technicians, augmented by Airmen from the 1st Special Operations Component Maintenance Squadron and 1st Special Operations Equipment Maintenance Squadron, normally accompany deployed aircraft.

The 4th AMU maintains the AC-130U gunship and supports training and contingency requirements of the 4th and 19th Special Operations Squadrons.

The AC-130U gunship is used during night missions: it has the ability to operate in adverse weather conditions and for long periods at night. That goes the same for the men and women that keep this plane operational.

Rain or shine the 4th AMU has a mission to accomplish. You can find them on the flightline anytime of the day during any month. No matter what the conditions are.

"I remember fixing a wing of one of the planes earlier this year and it was just really cold," said Senior Airman Bradley Parsons, a crew chief of 4th AMU. "That doesn't stop us. We put more gear on and get back to work."

As long as the AC-130U gunship is operational and has a mission to accomplish, the men and women of the 4th AMU will be ready with flashlights in their hand, all-weather gear in a backpack, and the motivation to continue the high tempo AFSOC mission that is essential to be part of the "greatest air power" in the world.

"I didn't always enjoy what I did in the beginning," said Lennon. "But now that I have done it and understand it, I enjoy what I do. I know what I need to do, and it's important to the mission."