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NEWS | May 11, 2011

Warrior of the Week: Airman 1st Class Mitchell Parker

By Airman 1st Class Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Airman 1st Class Mitchell Parker, assigned to the 437th Maintenance Squadron, is the Joint Base Charleston Warrior of the Week. Airman Parker has been stationed at JB CHS for approximately two years.

Airmen Parker recently returned from a four-month deployment to Qatar with the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron as an aircraft structural maintenance journeyman. His responsibilities overseas included repairing and maintaining the air frames on six different aircraft: C-17s, B-1s, KC-135s, E-8s, RC-135s and C-130s.

"Our mission was to fix anything that could go wrong with the air frame of an aircraft and keep them flying," Airman Parker said. "We worked on everything from fixing cracks on the seats and plugging bullet holes in the body, to sanding down the aircraft and painting them.

"I love my job and the creativity behind it. When I have to fabricate a plain piece of metal to repair a crack, it's almost like an art," Airman Parker said.

While deployed, Airman Parker volunteered for the unit activities council and helped prepare morale-boosting activities for the base including the Genie Olympics.

"The Genie Olympics was a week-long competition where Airmen competed in different sports such as volleyball, basketball, darts, ping pong and a one mile relay," Airman Parker said. "At the end of the event we had a barbecue and everyone had a blast."

Back at home, Airman Parker continues his responsibilities as an aircraft structural maintenance journeyman and is the secretary of a dormitory council on JB CHS - Air Base.

Airman Parker is originally from St. Clair, Mich. and joined the Air Force nearly three years ago.

"I joined the Air Force to travel around the world, give back to my country and pursue an education," Airman Parker said.

He is scheduled to be promoted to senior airman and his short term goal is to submit a package to the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

"Being a part of the Thunderbirds team is an experience that very few people get to accomplish," Airman Parker said. "I want to be a part of that team ... part of that experience. It will broaden my abilities on working on different air frames while providing me a ticket around the world."

Airman Parker said he wants to make the Air Force into a career and hopes to retire one day as a chief master sergeant.

"Airman Parker is a warrior who lives by the Air Force's core values," said Staff Sgt. Edgar Ayala-Rodriguez, Airman Parker's supervisor from the 437 MXS. "If he keeps up with his positive attitude and his willingness to succeed, one day he'll become a chief."