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    Thankful for a Maintainer

    Thankful for the Maintainer

    Courtesy Photo | Master Sgt. Daniel Andreotti, a crew chief with the 128th Air Refueling Wing,...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    128th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

    AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — Light rain falls on an early morning’s grey landscape in northern Italy. Three Airmen stand alone on the flight line with their assigned plane, a KC-135 Stratotanker, on a quiet blacktop parking apron. The atmosphere is filled with quiet anticipation and a sense of pride as the Airmen diligently work to ready the aircraft for the aerial refueling mission that awaits. Rain, snow, or blistering sun, maintainers spend hours outside with their aircraft ensuring it remains in optimal condition.

    The maintainers take personal pride in their aircraft, which is adorned with the names of the crew chiefs who often travel with it to ensure mission readiness. One Airman specifically stands out among the group. He is in a different maintenance role on this mission, as opposed to his usual role, in which he says, “I’m behind a desk.”

    Master Sgt. Daniel Andreotti, a full-time phase dock crew chief with the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard, switches roles as he is assigned as a flight line crew chief during a training mission at Aviano AB, Italy, October to November, 2018, proving that Airmen offer valuable and versatile skills.

    “This isn’t a comfy office job,” Andreotti said about working on the flight line. “I absolutely love my job because it’s something different everyday.”

    Though he was out in the rain performing preflight checks himself on this particular mission, Andreotti modestly emphasized all the credit goes to the flight line crew chiefs that are out there doing the work every day.

    Andreotti works mostly in the office while at home station, but he said training opportunities like this are invaluable because they keep him proficient in his skills on the flight line. He volunteered for this training mission at Aviano, taking advantage of unique travel opportunities in the Guard and exemplifying the willingness to always be ready for wherever the mission takes him.

    “There is a great sense of satisfaction seeing that aircraft take off and knowing that I had a major part in making that process happen,” Andreotti says. “If it wasn’t for the maintainers, these planes would not be flying.”

    Maintainers prepare the plane sometimes hours before the aircrew is out to the flight line. Lt. Col. Robert Ulander, a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot with the 128 ARW, explains that pilots are often the first thing in people’s minds when they think about what it takes to make an aircraft fly, but Ulander highlights the importance of the crew chiefs.

    “Our maintainers are no less important. Without them the air plane doesn’t turn a wheel and it doesn’t get in the air.”

    The aircrew and maintainers show a great deal of trust in each other. The crew chiefs take their responsibility for maintaining the aircraft very seriously and they meticulously inspect it, ensuring every step is completed with great care.

    “We will not send a crew onto an aircraft unless we feel comfortable that aircraft is airworthy for them to complete their mission,” says Andreotti.

    Likewise the pilots have complete trust in knowing the crew chiefs have done their job.

    “I have no question that when our maintainers say the airplane is ready to go, it’s ready to go,” says Ulander. “They are the unsung heroes because without them, we don’t have airplanes to fly.”

    As the aircrew stepped to the jet, Andreotti felt a sense of pride and satisfaction knowing that he had a hand in another day of successful aerial refueling. After the training mission at Aviano came to an end, he returned to the 128 ARW to continue his full time duties as a phase dock crew chief, hopeful to volunteer for as many opportunities like this as he can.



    Date Taken: 11.05.2018
    Date Posted: 11.21.2018 15:26
    Story ID: 300911
    Location: MILWAUKEE, WI, US 

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