Hickam Airman loves her job as crew chief

Story and photo by Airman 1st Class Lauren Main

15th Wing Public Affairs

Senior Airman Stephanie Tapia, a crew chief with the 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, is this week’s Joint Base Warrior of the Week.

Prior to joining the Air Force, Tapia worked at a chicken farm in North Carolina as quality assurance.

“I was a chicken inspector. I hated it,” she said. “I went to the Air Force recruiter and told him I’d take anything. I just wanted to be in the Air Force.”

Shortly after, in January 2008, she shipped out for basic training with open mechanical as her career field.

“I really love my job. It’s always something new,” she said. “I like the feeling that what I’m doing is really important, and the people that I work with are awesome. I love that I’m not just working in an office all day.”

Tapia worked on the C-130J aircraft at her previous base, Ramstein Air Base in Germany. She switched to the C-17 when she received her assignment at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“Though Airman Tapia only has six months on the C-17, she has consistently exceeded all expectations,” said Tech Sgt. Eric Hunt, Tapia’s supervisor. “In fact, her recent aircraft forms refresher course directly contributed to the 15 AMXS’ 95.3 percent quality assurance pass rate.”

Tapia enjoys being a part of the Air Force. However, there is one thing she would like to change.

“I wish we had lighter-weight uniforms and more durable boots,” she said. “Our boots get destroyed on the flightline and they [uni-forms] are too heavy for working in the office all day.”

She stays busy at work with her numerous responsibilities. Some of the tasks she is responsible for are overall maintenance of the C-17s, servicing the aircraft, and launching and towing.

“Airman Tapia routinely sets the standards for peers to follow and is more than willing to share her expertise,” Hunt said.

Tapia also stays busy off duty by enjoying the Hawaii sunshine and beaches.

“I like to hang out with my friends and be outdoors,” said Tapia. “The weather here is perfect for that. It’s a very relaxing place to be. Some of my favorite things to do on the island are snorkeling and hiking.”

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Category: Warrior of the Week