From Nursing To Gunships
by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ty Pilgrim
August 18, 2023
“We’re launching the planes every morning and we’re always here to recover them when they come back.” U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Stephanie Posey said.
Senior Airman Stephanie Posey, a crew chief with the U.S. Air Force 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, has exhibited many strong qualities throughout her life ... but the strongest is her ability to care.
July 28, 2023 - U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Stephanie Posey, a crew chief with the 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, sits on the back ramp of a AC-130J gunship on the flight line at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The 1st SOAMXS is dedicated to supporting the generation of safe, reliable, combat capable aircraft and equipment ensuring Air Force Special Operations Command can accomplish its mission “Any Time, Any Place.” (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ty Pilgrim.)
Growing up in Zephyrhills, Florida, Posey spent much of her time helping her mother care for an elderly woman named Margo. At the age of 13, Posey assisted her mother in tending to Margo’s hygiene and daily diet.
After she graduated high school, Posey became a certified nursing assistant at a nursing home. Here, she used her experience with Margo to help improve dozens of patients' quality of life.
“After all those years with Margo I’ve grown to appreciate working with elderly people,” Posey said.
Posey realized she had grown complacent in the medical field, so she set out to join the United States Air Force as a crew chief in 2016.
“I think I just wanted a job that I felt proud of talking about when someone asked, ‘what do you do for a living’ I wanted to be able to say, oh, I’m in the U.S. Air Force.”
After Basic Military Training, Posey was sent to Sheppard Air Force Base where she would face her most difficult challenge yet. Posey had zero experience in maintenance prior to joining the Air Force and was now expected to learn the ins and outs of the AC-130U Spooky and AC-130J Ghostrider gunships.
At tech school she failed block one which consisted of aircraft fundamentals. With eight more blocks to pass and no more second chances it was clear there was only one thing Posey could do to become a crew chief.
“I struggled a lot in tech school, but I just started studying my butt off every day,” said Posey. “I was in Saturday study sessions forever.”
After five months of tests and rigorous studying, Posey completed tech school and was sent to Hurlburt Field as a crew chief.
In 2018, Posey deployed to Bagram Airfield where she was able to observe missions day and night. Through these observations, she was able to experience first hand why caring for these aircraft was so important to the Air Force.
“Working out there on the planes was tough,” said Posey, “but when you see how many important missions they are doing it makes you realize why it's so important to be proficient in what you do because you can’t take your time out there, you have to get them back in the sky.”
Now, a part of the 1st SOAMXS at Hurlburt Field, Posey maintains the composite tool kits in the support section. Here she inspects and cares for all the tools and equipment any crew chief might need while on the flightline.
July 28, 2023 - U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Stephanie Posey, a crew chief with the 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, plugs a power cable into an AC-130J gunship at Hurlburt Field, Florida. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ty Pilgrim.)
“It's our responsibility to provide maintainers with the proper tools they need for the job,” said Posey, “because without us you can’t do any maintenance at all.”
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