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The Airmen of the 509th Maintenance Squadron metals technology shop make repairs to various pieces of equipment at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 18, 2017

The Airmen of the 509th Maintenance Squadron metals technology shop make repairs to various pieces of equipment at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 18, 2017. These Airmen are responsible for the creation and repair of aircraft, aerospace ground equipment, and service equipment for base-wide operations. The metals tech Airmen are expected to be knowledgeable about the inner workings of a component to go beyond routine repairs.

The Airmen of the 509th Maintenance Squadron metals technology shop make repairs to various pieces of equipment at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 18, 2017

The Airmen of the 509th Maintenance Squadron metals technology shop make repairs to various pieces of equipment at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 18, 2017. These Airmen are responsible for the creation and repair of aircraft, aerospace ground equipment, and service equipment for base-wide operations. The metals tech Airmen are expected to be knowledgeable about the inner workings of a component to go beyond routine repairs.

The Airmen of the 509th Maintenance Squadron metals technology shop make repairs to various pieces of equipment at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 18, 2017

The Airmen of the 509th Maintenance Squadron metals technology shop make repairs to various pieces of equipment at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 18, 2017. These Airmen are responsible for the creation and repair of aircraft, aerospace ground equipment, and service equipment for base-wide operations. The metals tech Airmen are expected to be knowledgeable about the inner workings of a component to go beyond routine repairs.

The Airmen of the 509th Maintenance Squadron metals technology shop make repairs to various pieces of equipment at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 18, 2017

The Airmen of the 509th Maintenance Squadron metals technology shop make repairs to various pieces of equipment at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Aug. 18, 2017. These Airmen are responsible for the creation and repair of aircraft, aerospace ground equipment, and service equipment for base-wide operations. The metals tech Airmen are expected to be knowledgeable about the inner workings of a component to go beyond routine repairs.

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Whiteman Air Force Base has a unique mission and with that mission comes the responsibility of carrying out daily tasks that make Whiteman the nation's premier bomb wing.
“During my time here I've learned that, through dedication, you can learn anything and achieve so much,” said U. S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Gildardo Martinez, an aircraft metals technology journeyman assigned to the 509th MXS.
Coming from the field of web development, Martinez has taken that mentality and applied himself.
“With very little knowledge about the mechanical world, I came here, learned a ton and have risen to become Airman of the Quarter at the group level.”
One thing that this could be accredited to is the environment and the shop’s unique approach to maintenance.
“The average metals technician should not only be able to repair equipment through guidance, but also be knowledgeable enough about the inner workings of a component,” said Staff Sgt. Steven Lynch, a metals technology craftsman assigned to the 509th MXS.
Metals technology is a vital component of not only Whiteman’s flying mission, but also the many missions of grounds equipment.
“Metals tech is a more unique career field in that we are not dedicated to only working on aircraft components,” said Lynch. “We have a wide variety of projects that range from routine weld repairs on Aerospace Ground Equipment platforms to performing maintenance on dining facility equipment.”
Having an in-house metals tech shop reduces the time aircraft are down while also producing quality work on every part repaired.
“Without our expertise, some parts of the aircraft may never be replaced,” said Martinez. “The base would have to reach out to another machine shop that may not have the same flexibility and attention to detail as Airmen from our shop.”
The pressure of being responsible for parts needed in order to continue flying can be difficult, but in the end it is a gratifying feeling of accomplishment, said Martinez.
“Knowing that the aircraft is grounded, awaiting a part that I need to manufacture is a huge weight on my shoulders,” said Martinez. “It's very stressful but equally as rewarding when I complete it. Seeing it take off is like watching your child go off to college; you've succeeded.”