Weapons Troop recognized for stellar performance

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

From testing and evaluating new weapons systems to loading ordnance, aircraft armament systems specialists ensure that when a pilot pulls the trigger devices successfully launch away from the aircraft toward the target.

Maintaining launch and release devices on aircraft, these professionals make sure that explosive devices can be accurately delivered from our planes.

Col. Michael Hernandez, 325th Fighter Wing commander, spent time with Senior Airman Sharon Maynard, a 44th Fighter Group aircraft armament systems specialist, as part of the Airman Shadow program here at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, June 2.

The Airman Shadow program is a 325th FW commander program designed to recognize Team Tyndall Airmen. The program provides an opportunity for the commander to meet with the Airmen and get a first-hand look at what they’re doing in support of the Tyndall mission.

Maynard’s great work ethic and positive attitude were noticed by her leadership and helped her be nominated for the program.

“Maynard has exemplified motivation and hard work more than any new Airman I've seen in quite a while,” said Senior Master Sgt. Terrence Calhoun, Maynard’s supervisor at the 44th FG. “She has completed five volumes of her five-level Career Development Courses months ahead of schedule, galvanizing her core work ethics. She is hungry for knowledge, eager to learn, and truly an asset to the weapons flight and the 44th.”

While showing Col. Hernandez around, Maynard demonstrated the process of changing out the F-22 Raptors chaff and flare countermeasures. Procedures like these are critical to helping an F-22 complete its mission, since they provide defensive mechanisms to avoid detection or attack by adversary air defense systems.

Originally from Michigan, Maynard joined the Air Force for a change of pace and came to Florida to be closer to her family.

Though she admits a career in weapons was not her first choice, she enjoys learning all the new and different aspects to aircraft armament systems. She said she genuinely believes it to be a critical part of the 44th FG mission. She also has a unique perspective as a Reservist working with active-duty Airmen.

“I feel it is important that reservist and active duty work together as a team to complete the mission and I enjoy the opportunity to work and learn beside them,” said Maynard.

Maynard said that her big aspiration is to one day become a registered nurse.

“I’ve always enjoyed the thought of helping and caring for people for a living,” said Maynard. “Plus there’s a high demand for health care professionals. Though this may be my goal, I’m also not opposed to staying in the Air Force for a career. There’s always something new and interesting to learn.”