NEWS | Feb. 5, 2018

Joint Base Charleston Airman recognized for career field excellence

By Airman Helena B. Owens Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

An Airman from the 437th Operations Support Squadron was recently recognized as the Air Force Outstanding Aircrew Flight Equipment NCO for 2017.

Staff Sgt. Brian Spears, 437th OSS aircrew flight equipment lead trainer, is responsible for overseeing the inspection, repair and maintenance of the equipment needed for safe flight operations.

“I’m very proud of Sergeant Spears and his commitment to our AFE program here,” said Col. Jimmy Canlas, 437th Airlift Wing commander. “His fingerprints are resonated through the efforts of his team, ensuring our aircrews are prepared for every contingency. They provide safe and operable emergency equipment they can rely on and the training our aircrews need in order to make the mission a success.”

Although Spears is the lead on AFE, he can’t do the job alone. To issue the equipment needed to safely execute the largest C-17 Globemaster III mission in the Air Force, Spears manages, trains and works alongside a team of 50 Airmen.

“My number one job here is focusing on our flight training,” said Spears. “I make sure everyone is current on refresher training so they don’t lose necessary skills."

In addition to keeping his team’s training current, Spears is an instructor for various training courses pertaining to proper use of the equipment they issue. Spears trains his team as well as aircrews on proper wear of the gear, its limitations, such as effects of heat stress caused by wearing it, vision impairment and respiratory filtration.

“This part I like a lot, I get to share what we do here with the aircrews we train,” said Spears. “I make sure they understand this equipment is serious and can save their lives. For me what is most important is getting these guys back home to their families if they have to use the equipment.”

Flight emergencies are not common but, in the event one happens, aircrew flight equipment airmen ensure the equipment is ready to go when needed.

“It’s not every day an emergency arises during a C-17 sortie generated from here, however if something does occur, the equipment we maintain and provide would save their lives,” said Spears. “Our whole focus here is lifesaving equipment.”

Spears feels he has been fortunate throughout his career to have had good mentors and leaders who took the time to help him strive for excellence. He has been in Charleston for six years and winning this award with his shop means a lot to him.

“There are a lot of people in AFE and I admire the breadth of knowledge we all have,” said Spears. “This isn’t an award for just me, it is an award for all of us. We all support each other and we help support the mission. I am not the man alone at the top of the mountain who did this, we are definitely a team.”