Maintainers recognized for keeping jets in the air

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Melanie Bulow-Gonterman
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
The 6th Maintenance Group and 927th MXG, totaling 551 Airmen, were recognized during the 11th annual Knucklebuster awards banquet April 25, 2014 at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

The Maintenance Professionals of the Year are Airmen who are able to exemplify the highest maintenance standards and technical compliance while embodying Air Force core values.

"The nominees must possess a variety of qualities such as being hardworking, driven, inspiring, patient, responsible, and resilient just to name a few," said Master Sgt. Corey Whitman, 6th Maintenance Squadron assistant fabrication flight chief.

The annual Air Force wide event recognizes the maintenance career field's top performers. The awards are all peer rated.
The original maintenance professional award was established in 1979 to recognize outstanding performance of direct, sortie-producing maintenance specialists.

The term "knucklebuster" stems from the fact that it's common for maintainers to go home at the end of the day with their knuckles busted and bruised.

"It's important that all the hard work, extra hours, and effort it takes to keep the KC-135 flying receives the recognition it deserves," said Whitman. "It's always nice to be recognized, but I think it means a little something more when it's coming from your peers. According to Air Mobility Command April 2010 Themes and Messages, the reason the Air Force can continue to operate its KC-135 Stratotanker air refueling fleet is because of the great efforts of the Airmen. On average, AMC KC-135 maintainers work seven to 10 hours for every one hour a KC-135 flies.

The Gen. Leo Marquez award, Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Barnes Crew Chief of the Year award, and the Maintenance Professionals of the Year award winners will compete at the AMC level.

The winners are as follows:

The Peer Award- Given out to the individual that is most looked up to within a unit as voted on by their peers.

6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron - Staff Sgt. Justin Rosen

927th AMXS- Master Sgt. Kenneth Hair

6th Maintenance Squadron - Tech. Sgt. Christopher Nichols

927th MXS- Staff Sgt. Jason Blake

6th Maintenance Operations - Master Sgt Derek Alston

927th Maintenance Operations- Senior Airman Aaron Kater

The Flying Crew Chief Award - A member within the Crew Chief career field that travels with the aircraft and exemplify the Air Force Core Values.

6th AMXS- Tech. Sgt. Jason Riker

927th AMXS- Tech Sgt. Kyle Steady

CMSgt. Thomas Barnes Crew Chief of the Year - Awarded to members within the Crew Chief career field that exemplify the Air Force Core Values.

911th ARS- Senior Airman Nicholas Ballard

927th AMXS- Tech. Sgt. Dionny Gonzalez

Gen. Leo Marquez Award-
Named for Lt. Gen Leo Marquez and recognizes the accomplishments of munitions maintainers who have demonstrated highest degree of sustained job performance, job efficiency, job knowledge, and direct sortie generation involvement.

Airman Category

Aircraft Maintenance

911th Air Refueling Squadron- Senior Airman Casey Vandeeweert

Munitions Maintenance

6th MXS- Senior Airman David Showalter

NCO Category

Aircraft Maintenance

6th MXG-Tech. Sgt. Leon Snow

Munitions Maintenance
6th MXS- Staff Sgt. Justin Splain

SNCO Category
Aircraft Maintenance

6th AMXS- Master Sgt. Garry Howdyshell

Munitions Maintenance

6th MXS- Master Sgt. Chadley Kinsley

Civilian Technician Category

927th AMXS- Mr. John Freese

Civilian Supervisor Category

927th AMXS- Mr. Kevin McGrath

Maintenance Qualification Training Program Instructor of the Year- This is a peer award.

6th Maintenance Operations- Tech Sgt. Edwin Martinez

Maintenance Professional of the Year Award- This award is received by Airmen that have demonstrated outstanding mission support, technical expertise, and embody the Core Values.

Airman Category

6th MXS- Airman 1st Class Michael Watkins

927th AMXS- Senior Airman Richard Doud

927th MXS- Senior Airman Linda Elworth

NCO Category

6th MXS- Tech. Sgt. Nathaniel Violette

927th AMXS- Tech. Sgt. Richard Padfield

927th MXS- Tech. Sgt. Robert MacEchern

927th Maintenance Operations- Tech. Sgt. Bryan Trejo

927th MXG- Tech Sgt. Michael Coates

SNCO Category

6th MXS- Master Sgt. Roger Mitchell

927th AMXS- Master Sgt. Kevin Wesson

927th MXS- Jose Quirindongo