One team, one goal; Jet engine mechanics maintain the mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashley Perdue
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, is home to many hard working Airmen, but one team in particular stands out to Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Alicea, an aircraft propulsion craftsman assigned to the 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.


“I really love what my jet engine mechanics do and how they do it!” exclaimed Alicea. “When faced with challenges, they lace up their boots and walk onto the flightline as one team, one family. They pat themselves on the back when no one is watching and that is the only reward they seek.”


According to Alicea, the team has faced their fair share of challenges since the beginning of the year, and receiving an influx of personnel from other airframes was one of them.


“We had manning, but no hard core KC-135 experience,” added Alicea. “We had to really grind to learn this new aircraft quickly to ensure we were still accomplishing the mission.”


To add, Staff Sgt. David Humphreys, a jet engine mechanic with the 6th AMXS, states the learning curve from another airframe to the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft is sharp.


“I came from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, where they have B-52H (Stratofortress bombers),” said Humphreys. “It requires similar maintenance and the same job title but, the way maintenance is done is different.”


Jet engine mechanics play a critical role out on the flightline and to the Air Force as a whole. They must be prepared to perform any type of inspection regularly. An example of this is the engine mount bolt inspection that recently took place to verify the integrity of the fleet’s bolts that hold the engines to the airframes.


“We continue to train on new tasks daily,” Alicea added. “One thing I’m excited about is that engine changes used to take about 48 hours, and now, we have lowered that time down to about two shifts in a day, from start to finish.”


These mechanics are one example of what it means to be a part of the 6th Air Mobility Wing, to remain mission focused and value our Airmen.


“We all learn together, work together and made it to where we are, together,” smiled Humphreys.