The ceremony formally appointed the crew chiefs to a designated aircraft and making them responsible for all maintenance, appearance and any discrepancies associated with their aircraft.
"I have to make sure the jet is well taken care of," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Stewart, 31st AMXS crew chief. "It feels great to be able to call it my own."
During the dedication crew chiefs received a certificate, coin, crew chief patch, and recited the crew chief oath, and will have their names displayed on their assigned aircraft.
"It feels great to be recognized for what we do," said Stewart. "It means a lot that our work does not go unnoticed."
While having their name on a jet ties them to the aircraft, it also bonds them to the pilot as well. These maintainers are responsible to keep the jet flying and ensure the safety of the pilots before taking off.
"It is good to work with someone that knows everything about the jet," said 1st Lt. Eric Kitaif, 555th Fighter Squadron pilot. "I trust the crew chief. He is the expert and before I take off, I know he has done everything within his reach to keep me safe."
As the pilots acknowledge the work these individuals accomplish to keep them flying, their spouses also recognize the importance of a crew chief's job.
"I have complete trust in what they do," said Kay Zobrist, wife of Brig. Gen. Scott Zobrist, 31st Fighter Wing commander. "I appreciate them very much, and because of them my husband comes home safe."
To become a dedicated crew chief, members are selected by their leadership based on initiative, leadership, integrity and technical knowledge. They must also have six months experience on their particular airframe, fulfill all training requirements, and complete the advanced crew chief course, said Lt. Col. Alex Dubovik, 31st AMXS commander.
"Today we get to formally recognize the best of the best," said Dubovik. "These individuals have answered the maintainer's call. "They work hard day in and out, and contribute to safe combat sorties. Their work should not go unnoticed."
9/4/2012 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy
by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs