403rd Wing maintainers earn awards for 2020 accomplishments

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kristen Pittman
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

Congratulations are in order for Senior Master Sgt. Justin Moses, production superintendent for the 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and Tech. Sgt. Hector Rodriguez, aerospace propulsion technician for the 803rd AMXS, as they were both recognized as recipients of 2020 Air Force Reserve Command Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez and Maintenance Effectiveness Awards.

Moses received the Aircraft Maintenance Supervisor Manager of the Year award while Rodriguez was awarded the Aircraft Maintenance Civilian Technician of the Year.

According to the March 16 memorandum issued by Brig. Gen. William R. Kountz, Jr., AFRC’s director of logistics, engineering, and force protection, these individual awards recognize base-level military and civil service aircraft, munitions, and missile maintenance Airmen who performed hands-on maintenance or managed a maintenance function.

Both Moses and Rodriguez had ample opportunity for hands-on maintenance and management during 2020 as both squadrons maintained the fleet of 20 Super Hercules aircraft flown by the 815th Airlift Squadron "Flying Jennies" and 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters.” 

The 803rd AMXS, in addition to preparing aircraft for a deployment overseas, saw their aircraft evacuated four times during a busier than average hurricane season. Rodriguez, who works primarily on the four engines of the C-130J model, was called upon for three of those evacuations where he did his part to make sure the aircraft could make it out of the way of possible inclement weather.

“At the end of hurricane season, a lot of our squadron deployed to support the 815th, so it was just me and one other coworker in the shop,” said Rodriguez. “We came in everyday and just knocked it out.”

In addition to taking care of the aircraft Rodriguez did a lot of work towards taking care of Airmen. In the latter half of the year he kept seeing news stories about sexual assault in the military and wanted to be part of the solution, so he became a victim’s advocate and began working with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program on base.

“I’ve never been one to worry too much about awards, but it’s a good feeling to really have your work and effort noticed,” he said.

As a production superintendent Moses works with all manner of personnel, from aircrew to crew chiefs to more specific maintenance shops to determine and schedule maintenance repairs and flying hours and balancing those two. 

During hurricane season, he planned one of the evacuations, and accompanied the Hurricane Hunters on a temporary deployment to Hawaii where he played a part in successfully evacuating the aircraft from the island of Oahu to the main island while still enabling the hurricane reconnaissance missions to fly. 

“2020 was tough because a lot of people were mobilized, so we had a lot less manning than normal. Also, our guys just stayed down-range flying all of the missions constantly so they were all wore out,” said Moses. “At times I don’t know how we got everything we did done, but I think ultimately it was purpose. With the mission we have, it has to happen, so Airmen constantly volunteered and got it done.”

He said his 2020 resume wrote itself as both flying squadrons had so much going on, he and the people he managed did not have any choice but to accomplish everything they did. 

“I couldn’t have done it without all their hard work,” said Moses.