JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Thirty-one members of Joint Base Charleston were distinguished as dedicated crew chiefs during a ceremony in Hangar 2 on 21 Feb 2014, at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, S.C.
As a dedicated crew chief, an Airman is assigned one particular aircraft and is responsible for its upkeep while it is at home station. JB Charleston now has a dedicated crew chief for each C-17 Globemaster III assigned on station. The heritage of the crew chief dates back to 1903, when powered flight began. Charles Edward Taylor, maintainer of the Wright Flyer, is recognized as the first crew chief.
"Our job as maintainers is to ensure we provide pilots with aircraft that are safe and reliable," said Col Dennis Dabney, 437th Maintenance Group commander. "This program allows for our Airmen to take pride and ownership in one particular aircraft."
During the ceremony, crew chiefs received a certificate, crew chief patch, and recited the crew chief oath.
"The crew chief maintains the aircraft and keeps it flying to ensure it's able to meet mission requirements," said Staff Sgt Ivan Velasquez, 437 AMXS dedicated crew chief. "Being a dedicated crew chief gives you a sense of pride and ownership. The maintenance of the aircraft is a reflection of you as the dedicated crew chief."
In aircraft maintenance, there are frequently issues known as delayed discrepancies, which are not mission preventing issues ... usually smaller items, such as ripped upholstery for example.
"The continuity that each DCC gets with their particular aircraft helps to expedite these delayed discrepancies," explained Col. Richard Gay, 315th Maintenance Group commander. "They're able to anticipate delayed discrepancies and are ready to fix them as soon as the aircraft touches down, which lowers the number of delayed discrepancies we encounter."
"The position of dedicated crew chief is not taken lightly," said Dabney. "These Airmen were hand-selected because they've shown they understand the big picture and have the technical and leadership abilities to get the job done. They will also serve as ambassadors, meeting civic leaders and distinguished visitors as their aircraft is on display."
The dedicated crew chief program is a long standing program at many bases, but here at Joint Base Charleston it is still new.
"Since we've started this program two years ago we've seen a dramatic decrease in delayed discrepancies to our aircraft," said Gay.