HomeNews

Reunion brings maintainers of the past, present together

A maintenance Airman talks about a C-5M Super Galaxy to civilians and veterans inside the C-5M.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tarnicia Jarvis, right, 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-5M Super Galaxy crew chief, swaps stories and experiences with retired Master Sgt. Tom Moore, center, and Mike Sandstrom, left, both former maintainers, Sept. 21, 2019, at Travis Air Force Base, California. More than 100 former maintainers attended a maintenance reunion to share their wisdom and experiences with active-duty maintenance Airmen. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

A maintenance Airman talks about a C-5M Super Galaxy to civilians and veterans inside the C-5M.

Former and current aircraft maintainers gather on a C-17 Globemaster III for a question and answer session during a maintenance reunion, Sept. 21, 2019, at Travis Air Force Base, California. More than 100 former maintainers attended the reunion to share their wisdom and experience with active-duty maintenance Airmen. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

A maintenance Airman talks about a C-5M Super Galaxy to civilians and veterans inside the C-5M.

Tony Castellanos, right, former aircraft maintainer, assists U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Tyler Rosenthal, left, 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron instruments flight control technician, in the removal of an escape hatch during a C-5M Super Galaxy tour, Sept. 21, 2019, at Travis Air Force Base, California. More than 100 former maintainers attended a maintenance reunion to share their wisdom and experiences with active-duty maintenance Airmen. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

A maintenance Airman talks about a C-5M Super Galaxy to civilians and veterans inside the C-5M.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jamie Hopper, 860th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-17 Globemaster III crew chief, explains the C-17’s flap indication on the multi-function display to former C-141 Starlifter, C-5 Galaxy, and C-17 maintainers at a maintenance reunion, Sept. 21, 2019, at Travis Air Force Base, California. More than 100 former maintainers attended the reunion to share their wisdom and experience with active-duty maintenance Airmen. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Generations of mobility aircraft maintainers from across the country gathered at Travis Air Force Base Sept. 20-21, to share their wisdom and experiences with two dozen active-duty maintenance Airmen.  

More than 100 former Air Force maintainers shared a wealth of maintenance knowledge having worked on the C-141 Starlifter — the predecessor to the C-17 Globemaster III — the C-5 Galaxy and other aircraft. These maintainers are part of Travis’ 76-year history and worked in either the 60th Organizational Maintenance Squadron, now known as the 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, or the 602nd Aircraft Generation Squadron, which deactivated in 1997.

Retired Master Sgt. Robert Ketterer, a former C-5 production superintendent and the lead organizer of the event, said he wanted the past to meet the present.

“I want this to be a passing of the torch from the old maintainers to the new maintainers,” Ketterer said.

Many of the stories told revolved around lessons learned from mishaps such as the 1993 C-141 fire at Travis AFB. According to reports, a lack of communication and task saturation may have been a contributing factor. Incidents like this ultimately led to the institution of a mandatory class, now called Human Factors Training, which focuses on reducing risk in maintenance practices.  

“I think some of the ‘near misses’ (and mishaps) we heard about in the stories this weekend definitely shifted the maintenance culture to be more focused on compliance and safety,” said Maj. Justin Hickey, 60th AMXS commander. “These former maintainers established the undeniable pride and grit that is unique to aircraft maintenance even today.”

While many of the stories shared were maintenance-specific, the overarching message the maintainers of yesterday expressed was one of encouragement and appreciation.

“It’s not about you; it’s the team that makes it happen,” said retired Master Sgt. Jerry Demele, former C-5 flying crew chief.

Demele stressed the importance of teamwork in getting the mission done and encouraged each Airman to find joy in supporting the mission, because their time in the Air Force is limited.

“I hope that the level of camaraderie and Air Force family we witnessed during this reunion will inspire our newest generation to build stronger relationships in the workplace,” said Hickey. “Our young maintainers have the most intelligence and best attitudes I’ve seen in my career.” 

Senior Airman Shelby Yellowhair, a 60th AMXS communication and navigation systems technician and an aspiring flying crew chief, said she was excited for the opportunity to meet with and learn from former maintainers.

“I love how close knit they are,” Yellowhair said. “They reminded me to live my best life and enjoy being on the line because time is going to fly by.”

Ketterer’s intent for the reunion was to allow maintainers of the past to share their experiences while learning how aircraft maintenance is performed today. The former maintainers asked several questions about modern-day maintenance practices, why today’s Airmen joined the Air Force and how much an airman first class earns.

One major difference discovered during the gathering between the maintainers was operational tempo, Ketterer said.

“On a typical day, we would launch three or four aircraft for missions to Hickam, then we would launch out two training sorties, recover them and launch them back out,” said Ketterer.

During that time, Travis AFB used to be home to 36 C-5s with more than 600 Airmen to maintain them. Now, the 60th AMXS has just over 350 Airmen responsible for 18 C-5s. A typical day for current maintainers consists of one or two mission launches and two training sortie launches.

Despite the reduction in manpower and aircraft, and with the constant demand of rapid global mobility, maintainers at Travis AFB have to be ready at a moment’s notice to project American power.

Ketterer, a Pennsylvania resident, spent nine months planning the reunion. He learned how to use e-mail, create a Facebook group and even make memes. He only expected 15-20 maintainers to show up. The Facebook group quickly grew to more than 500 members and several dozen made it to the event.

Ketterer said, that while he organized the reunion, it took teamwork to make it happen and credits retired Tech. Sgt. Mark Hamilton, a Vacaville, California, resident and retired Master Sgt. Jerry Horton, former C-5 crew chief and quality assurance inspector, with much of the reunion’s success.

Horton said he was Ketterer’s sounding board and that he and his wife, Patty, helped Ketterer put his ideas into play.

“I couldn’t have done it without my team,” said Ketterer. “Mark worked closely with the 60th Maintenance Group to make this event happen and Jerry handled the catering, money and program design.”

Hamilton said, while he may have had a role in the reunion’s success, he was thankful to 60th MXG leadership for their support.

“I am very grateful for Col. David Hammerschmidt, 60th MXG commander, and his staff for letting us do this,” said Hamilton. “The value of us being able to pass our experience on is unmeasurable.”

Ketterer said he’s hopeful for an even bigger reunion in the next couple of years.

“If we make a big enough splash this time, maybe next time, we can get even more people to attend and share their experiences.”

 

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
#TeamTravis, as we enter wildfire season you may have seen news reports about PG&E Public Safety Shutoffs. Public Safety Shutoffs are preemptive/deliberate power outages during high heat, low humidity and high wind periods where the fire risk due to a downed power line is high. Currently, Travis AFB has been categorized as a Tier 1 fire risk, which is the most unlikely tier to be de-energized due to fire risk and we are currently NOT expecting to be affected by a public safety power shutoff. Should we receive a notification from PG&E of a public safety power shutoff we will provide notifications via AdHoc (PLEASE make sure you've updated your information on the new system) and Balfour Beatty's "One Call Now" service. Informally, we will also post our Facebook and Twitter (@Travis60AMW) feeds. Thank you and #NoBounds!
"It hasn’t always been this easy. I grew up in small-town east Texas and enlisted in the United States Air Force when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) was alive and well. For many years, I experienced a great deal of societal pressure to quell a fundamental part of myself in order to succeed. As a young Airman, I never felt completely relaxed, almost as if I had to keep looking over my shoulder, and the paranoia of losing my career–my livelihood–prohibited me from fully engaging with my new Air Force family. I don’t need to tell you about how deeply loneliness and feelings of alienation can affect a person. It ultimately led me to self-report suicidal ideations because I couldn’t find a way to reconcile being a service member and being gay. If it wasn’t for the few allies who believed I belonged in the our Air Force, despite my identity, I’m not sure where I’d be. Those leaders carried me through my turbulent, formative years until I was able to finally breathe. Though throughout that time I made my fair share of mistakes, and certainly gave my supervisor some unique challenges, I was gifted with the opportunity to show the Air Force my cards as an 11-month formal investigation into my sexual identity was terminated following the complete repeal of DADT. On September 20, 2011, I skipped throughout my building high-fiving everyone I saw without saying a word as to why. I have been high-fiving as many Airmen I can every September 20th since then. It’s my own special holiday. I had won… but what was I to do with myself now? The universe had given me a chance to become a whole new Airman and I decided that I wasn’t going to waste it. Since then, I’ve strived to be the best Airman I can be. I volunteered to serve as a Military Training Instructor, I’ve helped organize several military Pride month events, and I’ve sincerely tried to live up to our Core Values. The freedom to be who I am has given me the freedom to fly, fight, and win. I will never forget, nor be able to completely thank, all of the people who helped get me here. However, more importantly, I will never stop advocating for the importance of diversity and acceptance in our Air Force because I know what both sides of that spectrum can do to a person. Pride month isn’t about celebrating individual preferences. It’s about celebrating inclusiveness and how when we practice it, it makes us all better versions of ourselves. We are a mightier Air Force when we show our Pride." —Tech. Sgt. Shannon Ouimet-Amaro, 60th Air Mobility Wing executive assistant to the command chief #HumansOfTravis #LoveIsLove #Pride2019 #🏳️‍🌈
Travis leadership: Happy #NationalDoughnutDay, #TeamTravis! Can't wait to finally have that Dunkin' on base, huh? The rest of base:
Martinez-native Jake Larson was only 21 when he stormed Omaha Beach on #DDay. Back then, his unit had a motto: “To the last man.” Now, 75 years later, Jake is the last man—the last surviving member of that unit, and if becoming so has passed to him a single nugget of wisdom, it’s this: “Freedom isn’t free.” Read more about Jake’s revisiting of Omaha Beach in the article below.
The events of #DDay were a testament to the strength and resolve of this nation. For those who survived the invasion, Omaha Beach represents both a reminder of those they’ve lost and a promise to preserve their memory. With the help of virtual reality, join them as they recount the events of that fateful day. #BecauseOfThem
75 years ago, the U.S. military, along with other Allied nations, enacted one of the most ambitious amphibian assaults in history. Today, we celebrate the courage and sacrifice of the service members who invaded Normandy on #DDay, and whose actions still stand as one of the most impressive rebukes of evil in human memory. #BecauseOfThem
Sometimes the best part of the #TravisLife is what's (literally) beneath our feet! #NorthernCalifornia has a brilliant assortment of wildlife and flora—even right in your front yard. What makes the #TravisLife sweet for you? Show us in the comments!
A lot of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) readiness exercises start with a single "what if" question. In the case of #NorthernEdge, that question was "What if the Indo-Pacific were to suffer a crisis?" The answer involves about 10 million pounds of fuel 😳 Read more about it below!
Rapid global mobility wouldn't happen without these beautiful #TTails or the maintainers and crew that keep them in the air. Happy #TTailTuesday, Team Travis. #NoBounds #ProudToBeAMC #TeamTravis #FindAWayOrMakeOne #MilitaryLife #AirForce #Maintainer
A lot of things can fit into a C-5M Super Galaxy! That's why when Los Angeles Air Force Base, Home of Space and Missile Systems Center asked us if we could load the latest Advanced Extremely High Frequency - 5 satellite, we gladly obliged and shot this cool timelapse. #NoBounds For more info on the AEHF system, visit: https://www.afspc.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/249024/advanced-extremely-high-frequency-system/ NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Happy Birthday to the man, the myth, the legend... Clint Eastwood turns 89 today! He served in the U.S. Army and at 21 years old he had a brush with death when the plane he was on went down off the California coast near Point Reyes National Seashore. Eastwood and the Captain made it the two to three miles to shore after the U.S. Navy AD-1 Skyraider crashed into the ocean.
#CaptionThis! From Military Fresh Network
#tbt to May 2014 when Travis got its first introduction to FRED. #DidYouKnow the cargo compartment of the C-5M is big enough to fit an eight-lane bowling alley? #TheMoreYouKnow #BougieButNotThatBougie #NoBounds
🎶 We just took a DNA test turns out we're 100%... America's finest mobility force 🎶 We can't carry as good a tune as Lizzo, but we can for sure carry whatever payload is needed at a moment's notice. #GoodAsHell #NoBounds
“Hopping.” It’s what bunnies do. Or, if you’re an enterprising DoD card-holder with aspirations of travel, it can be your way of checking out some of the world’s best vacation hotspots...for FREE! Check out the video below for some “hopping” pointers.
Exciting new changes are taking place within Phoenix Horizon, AMC's company grade officer leadership and force development program. Click on the link below to find out more. https://www.amc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1855452/amc-expands-junior-officer-force-development-program/fbclid/IwAR3L-VFvea218JaNQRsvwyQ3SwabuUesjhCoDRLNgDoiqwqXgKAvqW7N3Ww/
"Hate to see you go, but love to watch you leave." Today's #TTailTuesday is brought to you by these couple of outbound beauties. Show us your favorite T-tail photo in the comments! #NoBounds #ProudToBeAMC #LookingGood
Are you doing the #MurphChallenge today? Named for Lt. Michael Murphy who gave his life in the performance of his duties in Afghanistan, the “Murph” stands as the definitive physical tribute to those who’ve fought and died for our freedom here and overseas. If you are, comment the name of who you’re remembering this Memorial Day. #RememberTheFallen
As Memorial Day weekend begins, enjoy the cookouts, relaxation and hanging with family and friends, but be sure to take time to remember the heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice to make the moments we enjoy this weekend possible. #WeRemember #NeverForget
When we’re foot-stomping the same stuff we were foot-stomping seven years ago, you know it’s real. Today’s #fbf reminds you to hydrate, especially during these critical days of Summer. Check out the article for more tips on staying cool ahead of this season’s rising temperatures. #HydrateOrDie #TeamTravis
RT @US_TRANSCOM: Will it fit? Check out @USMC Marines working with @AirMobilityCmd Airmen from @Travis60AMW loading Marine vehicles at @MCI
RT @AirMobilityCmd: #TankerThirst has no curfew. A C-17 Globemaster III lines up to gets some fresh #FreedomJuice from a KC-10 Extender ove…
#TeamTravis, @PGE4Me is conducting a power shut-off tomorrow at 4 a.m. in response to an increased risk of wildfir… https://t.co/qDOZIHva3t
The @USArmy & @USMC like making fun of #AirForcePT, but we don't see them breaking bench press world records... Con… https://t.co/bnjlN4yiC0
#DidYouKnow the tail height of a C-5M is over six stories tall? Which means if you're not capitalizing the "T" in y… https://t.co/AYjT347Dyx
RT @AirMobilityCmd: How about some #MondayMotivation? Nothing like the sound of freedom ringing from numerous C-130s, KC-135s, C-17s, and K…
RT @AirMobilityCmd: @usairforce Senior Airman Shaheem Osborne loads a C-17 Globemaster from the 60th Air Mobility Wing @Travis60AMW! They’r…
#ICYMI, CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright visited #TeamTravis this past week and had the chance to drop some truth bombs on us… https://t.co/AYTi5nShAF
.@cmsaf18 spoke with #TeamTravis today... “What are you doing each day to make your unit better?” https://t.co/QBED5beKrt
S/o to @JBLM_PAO for breaking through that Washington fog to bring the HEAT to #MobilityGuardian19 and snagging thi… https://t.co/lVZMfOg8sG
RT @AirMobilityCmd: #Mobilty #Airmen will move heaven and earth to keep America’s promises to its service members. Check out this story of…
RT @AFWERX: Check out this partnership between @Travis60AMW's Phoenix Spark Cell, 22nd Airlift Squadron, and @sketchbox3d, a #virtualrealit
RT @AirForceMag: THIS JUST IN FROM #ASC19: @AirMobilityCmd this year is flying 15% more sorties than it did about three years ago—albeit wi…
RT @vacareporter: Travis maintains combat readiness https://t.co/szd62JEIKX
RT @KCRAdapper: "It brings out the blue in us... we bleed blue in the Air Force and it makes me proud to know the base is coming together."…
Good mooooorrnning, #TeamTravis! We don’t know about y’all, but #Thursday has never looked better. Have a great day… https://t.co/94QC2wfTG2
RT @vacareporter: A Travis Air Force Base KC-10 Extender is silhouetted the colors of the rising sun as crews prepare to take part in #Mobi
RT @jbrosenbaum: United States Air Force 1st Lt. Chelsey Hibsch who is stationed at Travis Air Force Base is the first female airman to gra…
RT @usairforce: #USAF is heading into the #WildBlueYonder, making our wish a reality. Faster. Lethal. Ready. #THISIS72 #HBDUSAF https://t.c…