ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, NEW JERSEY --
Staff Sgt. Tatiana Rivera, customer support noncommissioned-officer-in-charge with the 177th Force Support Squadron, volunteered with the maintenance squadron for a Maintainer for a Day partnership on June 24, 2022. The program provided non-maintenance Airmen with hands-on experience in the aircraft maintenance career field, giving them a chance to work on F-16 fighter jets.
Rivera received a breadth of exposure into the typical day in the aircraft maintenance career field, in a planned and controlled environment.
“A lot of times maintainers ask FSS for things and we don’t really understand what they do or how hard their job is,” said Rivera. “I think it’s important just so every shop has an understanding of what everyone does.”
During her day-long training, Rivera aided in Phase inspection of an F-16. She also gained insight into how the landing gear of an F-16 operates and deploys.
“The program gives non-aircraft maintenance Airmen the opportunity to experience the reward of generating a Fighter Wing’s aviation mission,” said Lt. Col. Brian T. Cooper, commander of the 177th Maintenance Squadron. “This also gives insight to the physical and mental demands that it takes to be successful in this career field.”
Rivera ended the day with a solid understanding of what challenges every maintainer faces on a daily basis; trying to balance the fleet health with combat readiness.
“It’s really good to know every job,” said Rivera. “I absolutely have a better understanding and respect for what they do now.”
Rivera was invited back as an observer when the F-16 launched for its first flight after her day-long tenure as a maintainer.