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TDY provides 912th Airman opportunity to know each other better

On November 13, 2017, The 912th Air Refueling Squadron (ARS) at March Air Reserve Base received a late notice maintenance tasking to Hawaii. Ten members of the 912 Air Refueling Squadron would be needed to backfill another unit for the next two weeks. The tasking required a wide range of mechanics from fuel cell technicians to electricians. The most important part, at least for me, is that they wanted a young officer to attend as well. The team would be spending the next seventeen days, to include Thanksgiving, in Hawaii.

 

 Full disclosure, the work was not overly demanding. We worked one day on and one day off. Works days were filled with maintainers taking care of the aircraft.  They searched for errant leaks, replaced broken parts, and investigated troublesome aircraft conditions.

 

The Production Superintendent, Master Sgt. Ben McCullough, managed the technicians on the flightline and organized our work schedule. He made sure the mechanics were equally and intelligently distributed across our fleet of aircrafts. As the young officer, I made coffee and pizza runs and tried to learn without being in the way.

 

Days off were filled with exploring the island, eating delicious local food, dancing, and even a Luau. The team made it to the top of famous hikes like Koko head, Stairway to Heaven, and Pill Box.

 

Throughout the course of the trip, my knowledge of aircraft did not so much improve as much as my knowledge of the people I traveled with. I learned Senior Airman Joshua Ludemann might be the funniest mechanic and the most honest person I’ve met in a while. He is also getting married soon and hopes to become a Non Commissioned Officer. I discovered that Staff Sgt. Ricky Hyunh is not only a solid flying crew chief, but a people-person who wants everyone to have a good time. I found that Staff Sgt. Cody Vinavong is actually a great dancer, really enjoys making fun of the lieutenant’s driving, and probably should let out his excess energy through boxing or some sort of martial arts.

 

I uncovered that no matter whether we are inside or outside, day or night, Staff Sgt. Rickey Martin will be wearing sunglasses. He also loves his family and spent many of his days traveling the state with his sister. I learned that McCullough knows mechanics from all over the world and will go to great lengths to talk to his daughter and son. This is true whether we’ve been working for 12 hours out in the rain or after spending all day hiking. He also likes to make fun of lieutenants.

 

From the short time we spent together, I learned that Jarred and Rosina McGlothin fell in love while they were stationed in England. Jarred is also unreasonably strong and likes to sing off key to the radio. Rosina is a positive spirit and loves to laugh. Matt Mendes and Silver Price were the other married couple with us on the TDY. They enjoyed the balance of spending time with the group and special time to themselves. Matthew also likes to discuss Bitcoin even if no one is listening. Silver Price enjoyed telling me I was probably going to die from my hip sprain during the second week. We stopped speaking for a while after that.

 

Nevertheless, I never learned to surf or kayak and only got to the water once due to the sprained hip. However, as we ate Thanksgiving dinner together in a hotel just a few feet from the Pacific Ocean, I realized that no matter whether we are working or exploring, one feeling endured throughout the trip…  A feeling of being thankful.