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Fixin’ to fly

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Vincent Hassing, a 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit maintainer, waits as an F-15 Eagle prepares to taxi to the runway, Feb. 14, 2017, on Kadena Air Base, Japan. The 44th AMU and members of the 44th Fighter Squadron participated in an exercise alongside members of the U.S. Navy 27th and 102nd Strike Fighter Squadrons from Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Vincent Hassing, a 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit maintainer, waits as an F-15 Eagle prepares to taxi to the runway, Feb. 14, 2017, on Kadena Air Base, Japan. The 44th AMU and members of the 44th Fighter Squadron participated in an exercise alongside members of the U.S. Navy 27th and 102nd Strike Fighter Squadrons from Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wallace, a 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit maintainer, inspects the engine port of an F-15 Eagle during routine maintenance for an exercise, Feb. 14, 2017, on Kadena Air Base, Japan. Maintainers ensured the squadrons F-15 Eagles were ready to fly as part of the weeklong exercise alongside members of the U.S. Navy 27th and 102nd Strike Fighter Squadrons from Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wallace, a 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit maintainer, inspects the engine port of an F-15 Eagle during routine maintenance for an exercise, Feb. 14, 2017, on Kadena Air Base, Japan. Maintainers ensured the squadrons F-15 Eagles were ready to fly as part of the weeklong exercise alongside members of the U.S. Navy 27th and 102nd Strike Fighter Squadrons from Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wallace, a 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit maintainer, inspects the engine of an F-15 Eagle during routine maintenance, Feb. 14, 2017, on Kadena Air Base, Japan. The mission of the 44th AMU is to ensure serviceable aircraft are able to meet mission requirements, keeping pilots current in training and combat ready. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donald Wallace, a 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit maintainer, inspects the engine of an F-15 Eagle during routine maintenance, Feb. 14, 2017, on Kadena Air Base, Japan. The mission of the 44th AMU is to ensure serviceable aircraft are able to meet mission requirements, keeping pilots current in training and combat ready. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick/Released)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Checking engine ports, ensuring high-tech equipment is always ready; the maintainers of the 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit are an integral part of dominating the battle in the sky.

The 44th AMU participated alongside pilots from the 44th Fighter Squadron during a weeklong exercise alongside sister-service members from the U.S. Navy 27th and 102nd Strike Fighter Squadrons from Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan.

The AMU maintainers ensured their squadron’s F-15 Eagles were ready to fly, fight and win as part of the exercise.

“Our job is to get jets in the sky and keep them there,” said Airman 1st Class Jelanni Jones, 44th AMU avionics specialist.” It’s a wonderful feeling when the aircraft you’ve been working on rolls out onto the flightline fixed, like a weight coming off of your shoulders and a sense of accomplishment because we know it was because of our hard work that the mission moves forward; when you see that aircraft take-off…it’s a great feeling. “

According to Senior Master Sgt. Ryan Schettler, 44th AMU lead production superintendent, the mission of the AMU is to ensure they provide serviceable aircraft to meet mission requirements, keeping pilots current in training and combat ready to support the U.S. Military’s ability to defend assets and allies in Japan and throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific Theater.

“There’s a lot of job satisfaction in what we do, especially on the more difficult jobs, I’m convinced the maintainers I work with are some of the hardest working people in the Air Force,” said Schettler. “They work day in and day out on the flightline, they go without lunch breaks and really only leave the line to go to the bathroom or to get more parts. They’re rarely ever behind a desk or inside, they’re exposed to the elements, so when they’re able to make sure an aircraft is ready to complete its mission, it’s extremely satisfying.”

Schettler makes sure to take care of his Airmen because according to him, he sees these maintainers as not only highly capable and outstanding Airmen, but also as family.

“I know exactly how hard they work every day. The most fulfilling thing to me is seeing the younger Airmen, the ones turning the wrenches out in the position I was in as a junior NCO on the flightline putting in a solid days work. Then being able to go home and feel like they have contributed directly to mission execution,” said Schettler. “It’s easy for us to be connected to the mission and know where we stand because we have our hands directly involved in generating combat capable aircraft; we know what it is we need to do and why we need to do it.”