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NEWS | Nov. 16, 2010

Warrior of the Week – Staff Sgt. Wallace Kirtz

By Airman Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Wallace Kirtz works as an aircraft maintenance scheduler with the 437th Maintenance Operations Squadron and has been stationed at Joint Base Charleston since January 2010.

As the non-commissioned officer in charge of the documentation section in the Plans, Scheduling and Documentation shop and the aerospace vehicle distribution officer, his regular duties include accurately reporting any possession changes for Charleston aircraft.

These duties are essential for the U.S. Air Force to accurately account for the location and use of Air Force inventory, he said. He is also responsible for ensuring that aircraft leaving for depot upgrades are input onto the flying schedule and all applicable time change items that will be changed at depot are ordered, received and shipped with the aircraft.

"My favorite aspect is we have a direct impact on the mission," said Sergeant Kirtz. "We may not have our hands on the aircraft physically, but we plot all flying and maintenance on every assigned Charleston aircraft."

His current supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Amy Herr, the assistant NCO in charge of Plans, Scheduling and Documentation for the 437 MOS, said she is glad to work with the "quick learning" sergeant.

"Sergeant Kirtz has impressed me with his ability to carry out any task he is given," Sergeant Herr said. "He is a true asset to the section."

There are many challenges an aircraft maintenance scheduler must learn to handle, but there are also perks that come with being an aircraft maintenance scheduler as well - gaining experience with a variety of airframes. He has scheduled F-15s, F-16s, B-1 bombers and now C-17s.

Having limited experience with the C-17, Sergeant Kirtz's current goals are to continue to learn the scheduling process. It is very different than the F-16 system he used to keep track of all inspections, time changes and time compliance technical orders, he said.

"In my career field I've learned that one of our job's difficulties is when building the flying schedule. We have to continually ensure both maintenance and operations are on the same page regarding operations requirements and the aircraft we have available are capable of meeting the mission," Sergeant Kirtz said.

Aircraft maintenance schedulers aren't only vital to the Charleston's mission; they also help overseas in deployed locations, and Sergeant Kirtz is experienced with that deployed life. From May to October 2007, he was deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

"It was a great learning experience seeing the process of air tasking orders and alert aircraft in a wartime environment," he said. "It was also great to see our F-16s takeoff knowing that each mission was vital to defeating insurgents"

While being deployed in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, Sergeant Kirtz found time to volunteer in the hospital, working at the helipad by transporting injured victims to the emergency room.

"Volunteering for that duty just solidified the importance of getting every F-16 in the air," he said. "It's also important now that we have our C-17s supporting the mission by giving our troops over there the equipment they need to win the war on terrorism."

This "warrior of the week" hails from Baltimore, Md., and enlisted in the Air Force in February 2002. He has been stationed overseas the majority of his career, spending time in the United Kingdom, Japan and Korea.

"It's the main reason I joined the Air Force," Sergeant Kirtz said. "I look forward to continue traveling, seeing new things and meeting new people."