403rd maintenance officer earns AFRC recognition

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

Capt. Anthony E. Gehl, maintenance operations officer for the 403rd Maintenance Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., was recently recognized as the recipient of the Air Force Reserve Command’s Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award for the category of Aircraft Maintenance Company Grade Manager for 2021.

According to the March 1 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.

As a maintenance operations officer for the 403rd MXS, Gehl oversees many facets of the squadron’s day-to-day operations, ensuring essential maintenance operations, and subsequently the operations of the 815th Airlift Squadron Flying Jennies and 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Hurricane Hunters, are good to go.

During the period the award covered, Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021, Gehl made contributions extending far beyond the 403rd MXS as he deployed to Ali Al Salem, Kuwait.

While overseas, Gehl led a team of 70 total force Airmen in accomplishing over 2,000 maintenance acts for C-17 Globemaster, C-130J Super Hercules, and MQ-9 Reaper aircraft, enabling the completion of over 3,000 sorties.

“The deployment was an interesting experience,” said Gehl. “We got to work with the Italian Air Force and Royal Danish Air Force and accommodated them as they moved aircraft and personnel to and from base.”

In addition to routine maintenance operations and assisting international allies, Gehl supported the initial phase of the Afghanistan Retrograde by coordinating logistics and aircraft ground equipment for a 24-hour C-17 movement mission that resulted in the relocation of over 800 soldiers.

At home, while the missions vary from overseas, the pace is just as quick. He worked, with often minimal to no notice, to plan and coordinate maintenance packages for deployments in support of the 53rd WRS’s operations, sometimes providing support for up to three storm operations at once.

On receiving the award, Gehl said he was just grateful for the recognition of his efforts from his leadership for putting him in for it.

Maj. Keith J. Johnson, 403rd MXS commander, described Gehl as selfless, kind, patient, and giving and an all-around good person.

“He is the first one in and the last one out every day—a selfless leader willing to do anything for anyone,” Johnson said. “I’ve seen him help people with their car trouble after work; that’s just the type of person he is. He has earned the trust and respect of everyone who works with him, always doing the right thing—even when it’s not popular, and leading by example every day. He makes everyone around him better and the 403rd is fortunate to have him.”