Maintenance Airman shadowed by commander

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Isaiah J. Soliz
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

A maintenance professional from the Air Force Reserve Command’s 44th Maintenance Squadron showcased his daily duties to the 325th Fighter Wing commander in early November 2017, as part of the Airman Shadow Program.

Senior Airman Gerald Austin, 44th MXS aircraft maintenance journeyman, known also as a crew chief, was chosen by 44th Fighter Group leadership to show Col. Michael Hernandez the responsibilities associated with being an F-22 Raptor crew chief. Col. Hernandez visited the maintenance squadron prior to accompanying Austin to the flightline for an F-22 Raptor pre-flight inspection. 

“I never pictured being shadowed by the commander,” Austin said. “Working alongside him was cool. He is a very down to earth guy. I liked him.”


As an F-22 crew chief, Austin is responsible for performing preflight, throughout flight, and post flight inspections. He inspects, troubleshoots and maintains aircraft structures, engines, hydraulics and similar systems. He performs operational checks and maintenance on nearly all the components and systems belonging to the F-22 and operates the powered and non-powered aerospace ground equipment needed during component testing and repairs.


“He is a true go-getter who is always looking for ways to improve the mission and puts safety first while performing daily crew chief duties,” said Tech. Sgt. Warren Trauth, Austin’s supervisor. “He continually volunteers for all types of orders to expand his qualifications, become more proficient at his job and ultimately support our active duty and reserve team at Tyndall.”


Austin is originally from Orlando, Florida, and as a child had dreams of becoming a police officer or detective. Austin added that he joined the Air Force because he felt he wanted more, and that he wanted to do something different. He hopes to earn his college degree during his enlistment and reach the rank of master sergeant.


Fast forward to present day, and Austin has a 7-month-old son named Brandon, whose birth he credits as the proudest moment of his life.


“Knowing that I am responsible for him makes everything that much more important,” Austin said. “I look forward to watching him learn and achieve great things.”


Austin has been in the service two and half years and plans on continuing his career in the Air Force for years to come. He envisions he will always be doing what he enjoys in the maintenance career field.



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