TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The 325th Fighter Wing mission of projecting unrivaled combat airpower can evoke thoughts of fighter jets roaring down the flightline or the aircraft maintainers turning wrenches on them; one such group vital to aircraft taking off are the 325th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment technicians that ensure the mission continues.
Airman 1st Class Michael Conard, a 325th MXS AGE apprentice, performs maintenance, inspections, and servicing on over 750 pieces of aerospace ground equipment that encompasses nearly all of the aircraft coming in and out of Tyndall.
Conard, a native of Rochester, Minnesota, had an opportunity to show Col. Michael Hernandez, the 325th Fighter Wing commander, what his duties entail on a daily basis and how his section aids in accomplishing the mission, thanks to the Airman Shadow program at Tyndall Air Force Base, Aug. 4.
The program is a 325th FW commander initiative designed to highlight Team Tyndall Airmen, allowing exemplary Airmen the opportunity to show the wing commander what their daily duties entail.
Conard was nominated and chosen by his leadership to be shadowed by the wing commander due to his work ethic and for exemplifying the Air Force core values.
“Conard is my top recommendation for the shadow program,” said Staff Sgt. Jamee Chandler, Conard’s supervisor at the 325th MXS AGE shop. “He has shown a superior work ethic and dedication to the mission. Conard sets the bar for his peers through his high level of personal readiness, enthusiasm and a ‘Can Do’ attitude.”
During his time being shadowed, Conard and Col. Hernandez shared thoughts and stories while they drove down the flightline to locate and retrieve a crane.
“The commander assisted in dropping off and picking up our equipment by hooking and unhooking it to the bobtail,” Conard said. “It was a great experience to work with the commander. He is very personable and extremely knowledgeable about the base.”
Being selected to showcase his duties to the commander came as a surprise, Conard added.
“I still have a lot to learn in my career field, so when I was informed that I would be representing the AGE shop to show the commander what we do, I was surprised to say the least,” Conard said. “I am extremely grateful that my leadership has that much faith in my abilities and knowledge.”
Conard said that his positive outlook toward the mission has increased with this experience.
“I learned more about how important this base is in 30 minutes with him than I have the last 10 months I've been here,” Conard said. “Knowing more about the vital role that we, including this base, play in the mission improved my positive outlook even more. I was amazed to learn about all that happens on a day-to-day basis on the base outside of our little shop.”