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325th AMXS maintainer shines bright

Staff Sgt. Cheyenne Jackson, 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew chief, stands in front of an F-22 Raptor Nov. 11 on the Tyndall flightline. Jackson was selected to be the 325th AMXS unsung hero for his significant contributions to the squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

Staff Sgt. Cheyenne Jackson, 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew chief, stands in front of an F-22 Raptor Nov. 11 on the Tyndall flightline. Jackson was selected to be the 325th AMXS unsung hero for his significant contributions to the squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Hero is a relative term. Everyone has their own definition and visualization when they hear the word. For the 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the term brings to mind a face within the squadron.

Staff Sgt. Cheyenne Jackson, 325th AMXS weapons load crew chief, has made significant contributions to the squadron, earning him the title "Unsung Hero."

Jackson is a native of Oakland, Calif., yet he was raised from the age of six in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he attended Kempsville High School.

During high school, he worked as grocery store bagger. When he graduated and was unsure about his future, he decided on the military.

"Everyone kept telling me that if I was going to join the military, join the Air Force," Jackson said. "Even my dad, who was in the Navy at the time, told me to join the Air Force. So I took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), and crossed into the blue."

His first job in the Air Force was working on F-15 Eagles. In 2007, Jackson joined the F-22 program.

"The hardest thing about being a maintainer is the elements of mother nature," said Jackson. "Rain, snow, sleet or sunshine; we are out there making things happen. We get issued various weather gear, but it's really a mental thing. Nice weather always makes for better working conditions.

"The most rewarding part of being a weapons troop," he continued, "is loading a jet full of bombs and watching it come back empty, knowing that someone on the receiving end just had a bad day."

When it comes to stress, Jackson's easy going attitude helps diminish the pressure of the day.

"Things will always be stressful at times, but for the most part, I push through them and go about my day."

Jackson likes to keep things lively in his off-time, helping maintain a healthy balance between work and life. He prides himself as a "spur of the moment" type guy.

"I work out six days a week," he said. "I also skydive, currently working on my certification and I DJ when time permits. I like getting the party started."

As for his long term future, Jackson jokes, "hold on, let me check my crystal ball."

When asked about his most embarrassing moment with the 325th AMXS he laughed.

"My most embarrassing moment as a maintainer in the 325th AMXS is discussing my most embarrassing moment as a maintainer in the 325th AMXS," he said laughingly. "So, that is not going to happen. Nice try."

Although Jackson did not want to share an embarrassing moment, he did insist one quote be included as his final statement for this article.  "Boneheads! Bad to the bone!"