JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
They don’t have aircraft of their own, but the Airmen of the 735th Air Mobility Squadron play a key role in mission accomplishment for Air Mobility Command in the Indo-Pacific region.
When any AMC aircraft comes through Hickam, the 735th AMS is there.
“We ensure incoming aircraft are mission-capable and can leave with the cargo and personnel they’re trying to take to other bases, especially in the pacific region,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Espinoza, 735th AMS aircraft electrical and environmental systems technician.
Airmen assigned to the 735th AMS work on several airframes, including the C-17 Globemaster III, C-5 Galaxy, and support the KC-135 Stratotanker and the KC-10 Extender. The 735th AMS typically catches about 30 or more aircraft per week.
Working on a variety of airframes allows the Airmen to add to their skill-set, said Staff Sgt. Carlyn Ramos, 735th AMS integrated instrument and flight control systems craftsman.
“Typically at home bases you focus more on your specialty and being here at an en route base we’re able to expand beyond just the scope of our own specialties,” said Ramos. “We’re able to do things we wouldn’t normally do at a home station such as inspections…so it definitely forces you to grow and challenges you to do more than just what your specialty is.”
“It’s interesting to see the difference and be able to work with all these people from different bases who have come here and get some of their knowledge and work experience,” added Espinoza. “It’s been very helpful.”
Aircraft from several bases including Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Travis Air Force Base, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and Joint Base Charleston have all come through the 735th AMS.
“When a jet is about to leave and they have an issue with their engine, we run up and perform the operational check and make sure it’s working like it’s supposed to,” said Espinoza. “I’ve had the aircraft commander say ‘Hey thanks man, I appreciate you guys taking the time to look at it.’ So it feels good in times like that where they recognize that we’re trying.”
The experience at the 735th AMS provides learning experiences that the noncommissioned officers will teach their own Airmen, said Ramos.
“I definitely want to pass on to new people who come here under my own supervision that it’s okay to step out of your comfort zone sometimes,” said Ramos. “Take advantage of the opportunity. It definitely broadens your own point of view and you honestly get to know the jet more and learn all the different systems rather than your own. I think that makes you a better maintainer overall.”