SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Fighter jets are sexy. Everyone knows that.
But 2nd Lt. Jacob Goodin, a student in the 363rd Training Squadron's Aircraft Maintenance Officers Course at Sheppard AFB, knows there is more to it than hopping in an F-15 Strike Eagle and taking to the skies. He spent nine years working as an aircraft electrical and environmental systems maintainer in the enlisted ranks before making the jump to serve as an officer.
“Some people don’t realize how much work goes on when the pilot isn’t in the seat,” he said.
Goodin, stationed at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, said his squadron works hard behind the scenes making sure those pilots have aircraft to fly.
Every Air Force aircraft maintenance officer comes to Sheppard AFB to complete their three-month training, where they learn maintenance fundamentals. Avionics, weapons, propulsion and logistics are just a few examples of what the course covers.
Lucky for him, his prior experience on the enlisted side of aircraft maintenance has benefited him throughout the course. He said, most enlisted maintainers who commission become maintenance officers, which is most beneficial to the Air Force.
The group of officers going through AMOC training right now is one of the largest the program has ever seen, Goodin said. The class consists of 17 students, nine of whom are prior enlisted. This seems to be a trend in the maintenance world, because it is difficult to keep maintenance officers in due to the long hours, deployments, and just the overall demanding job requirements.
Along with maintaining the aircraft, they maintain the safety of the lives in the flight deck. A simple mistake on a maintainer’s side not only damages aircraft, but endangers lives. Officers need to understand the overall concepts when it comes to maintaining an aircraft, he said. They rely on their Airmen, who are experts in their field.
From takeoff to top speeds to taking a hard landing on the runway, planes go through a daily beating.
“Maintenance’s overall mission is to provide safe and functional aircraft to the operators to accomplish the mission,” he said.
Pilots trust the maintainers to do their jobs, so that sexy fighter jet will do what the Air Force does best – maintain air superiority.