Military News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Soaring with the Eagles: from ground to air after 19 years of service

by Senior Airman Hailey Haux

8/21/2014 - PLOVDIV, Bulgaria -- The chance to ride in an F-15C Eagle on an incentive flight is a rare occurrence for enlisted Airmen. In fact, it took one Airman nearly 20 years before getting his chance to soar with the Eagles.

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Graham, 493rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit avionics craftsman, has been in the Air Force for 19 years working on aircraft. Coming up on his retirement and last temporary duty to Plovdiv, Bulgaria, where Airmen are conducting bilateral training, Graham was finally able to take that flight.

"The ride was pretty awesome," said Graham after his flight. "It gave me an appreciation of how much actually goes on up there."

Graham joined the Air Force in January 1995 at 21 years old and was the only one in his basic military training flight who knew what his job would be. As an avionics craftsman, it's Graham's job to repair aircraft to keep them mission ready.

"I joined the Air Force and never looked back," said Graham. "I have really enjoyed my job because it's different every day. My hat really goes off to all the maintainers out there, they have an important job."

Doing the same thing for 19 years can make some people go stir crazy, however, Graham says it's all about keeping an open mind and being the best you can be.

"There's not a better avionics guy on the line than Tech. Sgt. Graham," said Staff Sgt. Donald Wilson, 493rd AMU. "He deserves that first flight. He's trained everybody here and we'll miss him."

After retiring in February 2015, Graham and his wife will move to Alaska where he will be continuing his education and taking things easy on his down time.

"I am really going to miss all of this," said Graham. "The camaraderie, BBQs at the house, all the people I work with, everyone is just incredible."

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