WESTFIELD, Mass. – Airman 1st Class Rachel Kingsley, 104th Maintenance Group aircraft engine mechanic, always knew that she wanted to be in the military, and is using the experiences that the 104th Fighter Wing is providing her with to excel in her specialty.
Both of Kingsley’s parents retired from the active duty Air Force. She moved around a lot growing up but has lived in western Massachusetts for the past 10 years. She decided to join the Air National Guard to stay close to her family, who she said supported her decision.
“I pretty much always thought I wanted to join the military,” said Kingsley. “I grew up in the environment, so I wasn’t sure if it was because it was the only thing I knew and that’s why I went to college first. After doing almost two years of school, I decided that I definitely did want to join.”
Kingsley works with the teardown and build-up of engines in the back shop and tests them in the test cell once they are built. She also works with ground support equipment, secondary turbines, and organizational maintenance on the flight line. She hasn’t regretted her decision to enlist as an engine mechanic for even a second, she said.
“There are so many aspects of the job,” said Kingsley. “It’s really cool to be able to go out to the flight line and pull a motor and then bring it back here and work on it all the way through, and push it through the test cell and the final inspections and everything. You’re with the motor the whole time so you get to see every aspect of it.”
Kingsley said she likes the hands-on environment and hopes to continue working full time to master necessary skills.
“The most trying thing is definitely when you’re on the flight line in the middle of the winter on nights, and the wind is biting on you while you’re trying to work on a part that’s up in the bay and you just can’t get to anything,” said Kingsley. “That’s the hardest part, but even that is just part of the job and it’s worth it.”
During her first temporary duty assignment to Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, Kingsley got to spend two weeks honing her skills in a new environment.
“Most of the time you come in as a 3-level A1C and you’re just doing the job,” said Kingsley. “You’re just doing the maintenance, and you have somebody else there telling you what to do, but they’ve given me more responsibilities. It’s shown me that I can handle that responsibility.”
Master Sgt. Andrew Everett, 104th Maintenance Group aerospace propulsion craftsman, said that Kingsley is eager to learn, get the job done and is always looking for opportunities to help.
“She has had a strong desire to learn as much as possible doing whatever job she is assigned to,” said Everett. “She strives for perfection, and that’s what we look for.”