Honor and Privilege: Eielson Recognizes Dedicated Crew Chiefs

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ricardo Sandoval
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 355th Fighter Squadron and 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron held a ceremony in which 27 Airmen were recognized as Dedicated Crew Chiefs July 8, 2022, on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

A Dedicated Crew Chief, or DCC, is an aircraft maintenance professional who assumes primary responsibility for the maintenance and care of a specific fighter jet. Assigning a DCC provides consistency for the pilot who is also assigned to the jet. Crew chief is a job title, however a DCC has to prove themselves capable and worthy of being assigned to a specific jet. 

“The level of trust between a pilot and DCC is immeasurable,” said Capt. Aaron Sless, 355th FS F-35A Lightning II pilot. “Every time I shake the hand of my crew chief and look them in the eyes before flying, I know that I can have complete faith that the jet I am taking is safe to fly and ready to go to war.”

A crew chief needs to set themselves apart from their peers in order to become a DCC. This requires spending time learning the inside and outside of the aircraft, doing the job required while staying motivated and caring for what the job entails.

“Becoming a DCC is the culmination of an unequivocal dedication to the mission,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Willams, 355th Aircraft Maintenance Unit F-35 DCC. “The critical sense of trust that [Sless] needs in myself and my assistant DCC, Airman 1st Class Madison Slye, gives us a deep sense of purpose and a reason to show up ready to work each day.”

The DCC ceremony gives crew chiefs ownership over their assigned F-35 and also allows the pilots to recognize the crew chiefs that have worked hard to earn the title of DCC. The ownership is signified by adding the name of the DCC onto the respective F-35 that they are responsible for. The title of DCC is earned, not given.

“I understand what an honor and rare opportunity it is to have my name on not just any jet, but an F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter,” said Williams. “It gives me an immense sense of pride and ownership that motivates me to be the best crew chief I can be.”