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New program hits Tyndall flightline

A 95th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptor flies the Panama City, Fla., skies May 10, 2017. As part of the Maintainer for a day program, Airmen selected to participate will have the opportunity to work on an F-22 and help the mission to project unrivaled combat airpower. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor with the 95th Fighter Squadron flies the Panama City, Fla., skies, May 10, 2017. As part of the Maintainer for a day program, Airmen selected to participate will have the opportunity to work on an F-22 and help the mission to project unrivaled combat airpower. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

The 325th Maintenance Group recently implemented a shadow program to help Team Tyndall members see the Tyndall mission, train and project unrivaled combat air power, from a different perspective.

The Maintainer for a Day program allows participants to experience day-to-day duties of a dedicated crew chief, from the 43rd Fighter Squadron or 95th Fighter Squadron.

“The program will let Airmen from different jobs come out and see what we do on a daily basis and experience the life of a maintainer for a day,” said Master Sgt. Allen Leiby, 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent.

The part of the crew chief duties most people see are the launch and recoveries, where crew chiefs marshal jets out for takeoff, Leiby said.

“That is just the visual aspect of a crew chief,” Leiby added. “The part that I want people to get more involved with is turning the wrenches, changing parts and troubleshooting hydraulics.”

This was an experience Staff Sgt. Raven Roberts, 325th Force Support Squadron food service specialist, looked forward to.

“My overall experience was amazing,” Roberts said. “I learned a lot and met a lot of people. Most importantly, I stopped taking my job as a cook for granted. I thought I had it bad, but it doesn't compare to what those guys and gals [maintainers] endure on a daily basis. So I tip my hat off to them and I was very appreciative of the warm welcome from the entire unit.”

The weekly shadow will give a unit commander recommended Airman the opportunity to work on the F-22 Raptor.

Before getting that chance, Airmen will begin their full duty day with an early morning crew chief roll call, get proper safety equipment required for the flightline, such as steel-toed boots and coveralls, then be assigned to an experienced three-person crew that will help them for the day.

“We went to the supply area to check out and sign for every tool we needed to take onto the flightline for the day,” said Roberts. “Then, we went onto the flightline, and they showed me the basics of the aircraft [F-22] we were working on. They taught me how to lower the ladder to enable pilots to climb on and off of and how to lower the canopy down to begin maintenance.”

Roberts’s experience made her aware of how vital every Airmen’s role is to the mission.

“We get complacent with our own jobs and tend to forget how important other Airmen jobs are,” Roberts said. “I got to step aside from my job for a day and see what they bring to the fight.”