Crew chief reflects on 31 year career

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Trevor Saylor
  • 934th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
In July, Master Sgt. Ian Owen, of the 934th Airlift Wing, will retire. He has been a crew chief for every one of his 31 years, including ten years on active duty, ten years as an Air Reserve Technician, and eleven years as a traditional reservist.

I met Master Sgt. Owen working on a C-130, preparing the aircraft for airdrops in support of Exercise Saber Junction. As we stand at Aviano Air Base, Italy, with the mountains providing the backdrop, and the sun lighting the flight line, we see the various crews working on the C-130s lined up across the flight line. It's a beautiful morning to be outside, and being outside is one of the biggest things Owen says he'll miss about his job. "Except in the winter; in the winter I like my job inside," he says.

Owen loves being a crew chief, and only considered cross-training once, to be a firefighter, when he was on active duty. "Man, that would have been pretty cool," Owen says as fire trucks drive, sirens blaring, out to the flight line at Aviano AB. "But I've enjoyed my time as a crew chief a lot; I really can't complain."

Owen has had a great time in his career and has lots of stories to tell about the lengthy list of locations he has visited with the Air Force. The locations he has traveled to include, in his words, "just about everywhere you can go on a C-130." He cites Puerto Rico as his personal favorite, and lists Japan as the one location he never made it to that he wishes he had.

He works as a civilian for the Defense Contract Management Agency when he isn't on duty at the 934th, and has a few more years until he can retire from civil service. He plans to spend more time with his three grandchildren, who live a few hours away in Wisconsin. "I'll have one more weekend a month to spend with them," says Owen. He also plans to spend more time outdoors, riding motorcycles and snowmobiles.

"This is a great trip to wind down a career," Owen says as he surveys the flight line. Not one to spend too much time thinking about the past, he grabs his ear protection and the power cart for the C-130, and begins preparations for the airdrops in support of Exercise Saber Junction. "I may be retiring in July," he says as he prepares to power up the aircraft behind us, "but I still have more work to do now." And with that, he puts on his headset, and gets back to work.