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January's Unit Spotlight: Aircrew Flight Equipment

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Faddis
  • 117th Air Refueling Wing

This month’s Unit Spotlight is the Aircrew Flight Equipment, a section of the 117th Operations Group!

The Aircrew Flight Equipment (AFE) has several different responsibilities according to Master Sgt. Tavares Lucky, the 117th Aircrew Flight Equipment Flight Chief. “Our primary duty is ensuring the lifesaving equipment is maintained, inspected, installed, and removed from the aircraft,” he said. “Periodically, the equipment comes in for inspection. Our job is to take that equipment off the aircraft, inspect it, ensure that it is serviceable, and then reinstall it on the aircraft.”

Lucky, a 24-year U.S. Air Force veteran, explained that the career field has changed over time into what it is today. “I started out as Aircrew Life Support for the first six years [before] getting a full-time technician slot in Survival Equipment,” Lucky said. “Right after I finished tech school for Survival Equipment, maybe a year or two later, Survival Equipment and Aircrew Life Support merged career fields so it became one, and I’ve been doing this job the entire time."

In addition to the maintenance and management of the equipment, Lucky explained that they work directly with aircrew. “We ensure they are trained and are knowledgeable on the lifesaving equipment that they may have to use,” he said. “We take them out to the YMCA, the lake, or whatever resource we have available to us and give them water survival training in case they ever have to survive in open sea environments.

Not only do they serve the local aircraft and aircrew, they also support a large scale mission. “We play a role in the nuclear deterrence mission across the Air Force,” Lucky explained. “We ensure the aircrew members are knowledgeable and are fitted on their chem gear. We also process them through the decontamination line in the event that they were exposed to chemicals.”