ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --
Resiliency can be defined as the capacity to overcome the negative effects of unpredicted setbacks. It allows for the effective use of physical, mental and emotional skills.
For the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, long hours and unexpected circumstances are standard, and can truly test an Airman’s resolve.
“Morale has a massive role when it comes to being a crew chief. If morale is low, mistakes are more likely to occur,” said Airman 1st Class Tyler Thomas, 492nd Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief. “Our leadership does a great job of finding ways to increase overall morale, from simple things such as cookouts, praise for hard work, and taking in feedback from the Airmen about things that can make our lives easier out on the flight line.”
48th AMXS supervisors are tasked with more than just assigning duties and inspecting work. They must keep their troops focused, know when to push, when to hold back and recognize fatigue.
“I think resiliency is just built into the maintenance community,” said Tech. Sgt. Adonis A. Ruberte, 48th AMXS weapons load crew chief. “We keep moving toward our goals and making things happen regardless of what is going on.”
Maintaining a resilient work force is an important responsibility of first-line supervisors and relies on motivation, effective leadership and maintaining good morale among the team, and when possible, being hands-on, turning wrenches alongside their Airmen.
“Just because I’m an NCO, I’m not going to sit back and watch my Airmen work,” said Staff Sgt. Merrilee Carder, 48th AMXS avionics technician. “Anything that I might ask them to do is something that I would be willing to do myself. I’m going to get in there right beside them and do all the things I used to do when I was at that level.”
Becoming a supervisor doesn’t suddenly make one immune to emotional stress and fatigue. Promoting means taking on more responsibility, and as such makes maintaining one’s own mental resiliency all the more necessary, to continue to be positive role models for Airmen.
“One of the things that really keeps my head in the game is training the younger Airmen and watching their progression,” said Staff Sgt. Juan Cruz, 48th AMXS crew chief. “Passing down my knowledge and watching them complete a task without my help is one of the most rewarding parts of this job.”
The significance of the 48th AMXS Airmen can be observed in the careful inspections and meticulous repairs of the 48th FW’s essential aircraft.
As the U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa's only F-15 fighter wing, the Royal Air Force Lakenheath is a foundational part of USAFE’s combat capability and has played a key role in deterrence and anti-terrorism operations throughout the years.
“Being overseas, we are much closer to the action and much easier to deploy on short notice,” said Carder. “We have to make sure our pilots are trained up and our aircraft are fully mission capable. We constantly stress this to our Airmen and remind them how important they are.”
Mental and physical resilience are essential to the success of 48th FW mission to provide worldwide responsive combat airpower and support to European partners and allies. The 48th AMXS leadership team ensures RAF Lakenheath’s superior combat airpower capabilities through their resolute commitment to training, mentoring and maintaining the Air Forces number one asset, the Airmen.