Maintenance Spotlight at Dobbins Air Reserve Base

By Senior Airman Lauren Douglas 94th Airlift WIng

Maintenance is necessary for any long-term mission to run successfully and that necessity rings true at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia. The mission of the U.S. Air Force is to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace but without the hard-working Airmen who maintain the aircraft, there would not be much flying, fighting or winning.

“My favorite part is probably working with everybody,” said Staff Sgt. Malcolm Young, 94th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron hydraulics specialist. “Different people, different personalities. We have a lot of characters around here. I pretty much get along with everybody.”

The hydraulics field covers flight controls, landing gear and systems, steering, brakes, different pumps and motors, said Young. It pressures what allows the plane to fly.

The 94th Maintenance Group team of military and civilian members is composed of two squadrons and one flight that provide logistics support and maintenance for the wing’s fleet of C-130H aircraft. This diverse group of men and women maintain the aircraft for Dobbins and keep our pilots and crew flying high and, most of all, safely.

“Maintenance is female friendly,” said Airman 1st Class Cindy Esquero, 94th Maintenance Squadron avionics guidance and controls. “I know a lot of people don’t think it is. The best part about being a reservist is that you get training from sergeants who have been doing this job a long time so they have more experience.”

Maintainers collectively express that they enjoy the job they do but that does not mean it doesn’t come with some difficulties or hardship.

“We’re pretty much behind the scenes,” said Young. “We don’t get a lot of credit for what we do. Everybody sees the planes flying and praises the pilots but as far as the planes actually getting up in the air, that’s us maintainers.”

These teams of maintainers attend technical training to learn all of the intricate parts and functions of their aircraft. The length of each schooling period varies with which aircraft they will be assigned at their individual bases. They must deal with the ups and downs that come with them.

“The most difficult part is just learning the hydraulics systems and how each system’s components work together for the grand scheme of things,” said Young. “That just comes with repetition, practice and studying, and actually wanting to know your job.”

“We have some things that are routine fixes and then we get some real head scratchers,” said Esquero. “Some of the workspaces we have to go into can be difficult, like working under things and in tight spaces.”

Some maintainers experience other types of challenges.

Staff Sgt. John McDermott, 94th Maintenance Squadron avionics instruments and flight control said, it’s difficult to leave town for work and deployments and leave his son, John McDermott V, for extended periods of time. He left for Poland in early October, for an exercise with other national air forces.

Maintainers experience issues that are big and small, professional and personal, natural and foreign. But sometimes, it’s just the weather.

“During the summer on the flight line, you just hope there is a breeze,” said Esquero. “Especially when we work on top of the wings. It gets hot up there.”

At Dobbins the 94th Maintenance Group is a close-knit group. They work together, play together and keep our aircraft flying high.

“Overall, I think this job relates to me being a team player,” said McDermott. “I’m grateful for this opportunity and I feel like you can’t always be a taker in this career field. Sometimes you've got to give back. I hope that the work I do here makes a difference and I’m not just another person here.”

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Dobbins Air Reserve Base website.