HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Labels cannot always define what is on the inside, especially when the person is a jack of all trades, master of none.
But, for those who hold themselves to a higher standard, with the initiative to be the best, only the label, Dedicated Crew Chief will do.
Almost five years into his career, Senior Airman Jordan Eveland, 314th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, still believes the hype of his position.
Before Eveland made the decision to enlist, he knew he wanted a solid career providing unique opportunities and an impact – a career that could live up to his grandfather’s stories of serving as an Air Force pilot.
"When I went to the recruiter, I asked to be a crew chief," said Eveland. "I knew I wanted to be as close as my grandfather was to the mission, if not closer. The biggest appeal of working on aircraft was having a real impact on day-to-day operations."
Eveland left for basic military training in April 2014 to begin his journey as a crew chief.
"A crew chief is somebody who is solely responsible for a particular type of aircraft," said Eveland. "With the help of other maintenance shops working alongside them, the crew chief is held responsible for getting the aircraft up in the air the most efficient and safest way possible."
All crew chiefs are responsible for flight essential maintenance for their assigned aircraft, such as flight controls, landing gear, hydraulics, and finding out how to troubleshoot errors outside of their training.
However, Dedicated Crew Chiefs are assigned to one aircraft and held to an even higher standard; the position is reserved for crew chiefs who exhibit leadership and a full tool box of maintenance skills and experience.
"The DCC is responsible for all maintenance on the aircraft he is dedicated to," said then-Chief Master Sgt. Wendy Jones, 49th Maintenance Group. "DCC is a job description, not an Air Force specialty. It is reserved for those who display the initiative, management and leadership ability necessary to maintain an aircraft in combat ready status. A Dedicated Crew Chief’s technical knowledge is above reproach and the resource most counted upon to ensure a wing’s combat readiness."
Tech. Sgt. Brandon Brittain, 311th Aircraft Maintenance Unit Dedicated Crew Chief, enlisted with a guaranteed crew chief slot in 2008.
"I knew it would be a good fit for me," said Brittain. "Crew chiefs have their hands in everything."
In addition to keeping their dedicated aircraft mission ready at all times, a DCC is expected to have the knowledge and maintenance skill set to mentor and lead Airmen to success.
"The most challenging part of being a Dedicated Crew Chief is having somebody work alongside me," said Eveland. "Being responsible for my aircraft is second nature at this point. But, when it
comes to guiding Airmen and remembering to show them the things I was shown by my DCC, that is my biggest challenge."
Though DCCs faces these challenges daily, Eveland is looking forward to an additional milestone in his career – being selected for the rank of staff sergeant.
"It feels good that I finally get the opportunity to do what other supervisors have done for me," said Eveland. "My DCC showed me countless amounts of things. I have had staff sergeants who have shown me how to progress and have a positive influence on other people’s lives. Now that I finally have the opportunity to do both, I am more than excited to take on the responsibility."
A DCC can be spotted almost anywhere on Holloman, because they have a signature look – black coveralls.
"I have only ever worn the black coveralls at Holloman," said Brittain. "There is definitely a sense of pride when people come up to you and ask what it is you do."
As a pilot training base, Holloman crew chiefs impact the Air Force mission in an essential way.
"The Air Force has a shortage of pilots," said Brittain. "The quicker we can put the aircraft in the air, the quicker we can get pilots through training."
The accountability and responsibility of a DCC has its challenges, but both Eveland and Brittain agree there is a lot of reward in watching their aircraft take off and come back safely.
"Being passionate about aircraft and being attached to an F-16 fighter squadron is something that most people don’t ever get to see or do," said Eveland. "Being a DCC is the pinnacle of what that means to me. Personally, I believe there is not a more crucial responsibility or job on the aircraft than a crew chief. Crew chiefs will always lead the way."
(Information from a Holloman news story was used in this story)