“We take that very seriously here in AFE and have dedicated our lives to the craft.”
Staff Sgt. Brett Schindler, NCO in charge of the helmets and chemical defense gear section, maintains the helmets and oxygen masks pilots use during day and night flights, including their night-vision goggles.
“Being able to teach new pilots how the gear works is quite nice,” he said. “That way, they have a small sense of what they should be looking for in case of an inflight emergency, to possibly be able to fix the problem to keep them safe.”
Schindler said working in AFE throughout his career at Wright-Patterson AFB and other bases has brought him many memorable experiences.
“I’ve enjoyed helping to teach water and combat survival training,” he added. “It’s nice to know that if they went down, I did my best to help train them on how to get out of a bad situation, whether in the water or downed behind enemy lines.”
Cancino said he has come across Airmen who don’t feel like what they do for the Air Force is important or matters, such as a simple job of wiping out an oxygen mask with a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.
“Those who are in the background providing support do have a large impact on the mission,” he said. “Everyone makes a difference, everyone is important. The 445th Airlift Wing mission attributes its success to the Airmen that support it, and mission support is our business.”
(Stacy Vaughn contributed to this story.)