552nd AMXS inducts Dedicated Crew Chiefs

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

The 552nd Air Control Wing inducted its first class of nine Dedicated Crew Chiefs March 3.

The purpose of the newly restored program is to ensure continuity and accuracy by assigning ownership to each individual aircraft. The Dedicated Crew Chief Program is an essential part of aircraft maintenance, Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Leemon said. As the superintendent for the 552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Chief Leemon explained how maintainers are held to the highest standards of professionalism, excellence and sound maintenance discipline.

The Dedicated Crew Chief is a job description, not an Air Force specialty. “It is reserved for those who display initiative, management and leadership abilities necessary to maintain an aircraft to combat-ready status,” Chief Leemon said.

Ownership and accountability are established in assigning a Dedicated Crew Chief (DCC)  to their own jet. DCCs are responsible for catching any small issue before it becomes a problem that could keep the aircraft grounded. Providing quality maintenance oversight is a No. 1 priority.

Chief Leemon offered his three L’s to becoming a successful DCC. First, he encouraged the inductees to listen. “Listen to your fellow maintainers and aircrews,” he said. “Exhibit and demand excellence from yourself and fellow technicians.”  A DCC is responsible for working diligently to identify and correct any discrepancies.

Next, the superintendent spoke about the importance of learning. The DCCs are known to be highly competent individuals, he said, but must always continue to develop and never settle or become complacent. “Learn something every day,” he added. Train, teach, mentor and coach those around you, and always work together as a team.

Lastly, Chief Leemon emphasized leadership. As a DCC, one must be well equipped to make tough decisions, to be courageous and bold leaders. Passionate leaders must endure long, never-ending work days while maintaining utmost professionalism. “[A DCC] should be committed to perfection, but settle for excellence,” the chief said.

A program which has previously fallen by the wayside was restored, a huge day and accomplishment for AMXS and the Air Control Wing, noted Squadron Commander  Maj. Christian Backhaus. He went on to commend the DCCs, those “a cut above the rest” who will have the honor of having their names painted on their jets.

“We support you in this endeavor,” Major Backhaus said, speaking directly to the inductees. “Remember, to whom much is given, much is expected. You must uphold the highest standards in core values and maintenance practices. We are proud of you, and proud of your dedication to the Air Force.”