EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
For the hectic day of a pilot, grabbing their gear is just one small step in the long list of tasks before a flight.
Safety is always a priority, and aircrew flight equipment technicians from the 4th Operations Support Squadron, assigned to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, ensure the safety of pilots from the 335th Fighter Squadron that participated during NORTHERN EDGE 2017 by evaluating all protective gear before and after each flight.
“When I first joined, I never though this job would have such a direct impact on the mission,” said Senior Airman Garrett Bryden, a 4th OSS AFE technician. “What I do is pretty overwhelming when I think about how a pilot depends on whether or not I do my job accurately.”
Diligent with their every move, AFE members are the jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the equipment they handle.
“Each day, we look over the flying schedule to make sure we know when everyone is stepping to their jets and figure out what gear needs to be inspected,” said Bryden. “We have not had any major challenges and so far, has been a smooth ride.”
From maintaining helmets to sewing vests, AFE Airmen spend their days focused, ensuring they sustain a level of attention to safeguard the integrity of the flight gear.
“Our duties here are similar to our home station. Each day we inspect all of the pilots gear prior to each flight and once they return we do post-flight checks,” said Airman 1st Class Johnathan Pein, a 4th OSS AFE technician. “Following the schedule of when equipment needs be serviced creates our workflow.”
In order for everyone to maximize the training during exercises such as NORTHERN EDGE, it is imperative every participant keeps safety at the forefront of every task they perform.