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97th AMXS members dominate Aircraft Maintenance Competition

Josh Ellison, Kayle Croft and Mike Brown, aircraft mechanics assigned to the 97th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, pose for a photo after winning the 2017 Aerospace Maintenance Competition, Dec. 4, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Josh Ellison, Kayle Croft and Mike Brown, aircraft mechanics assigned to the 97th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, pose for a photo after winning the 2017 Aerospace Maintenance Competition, Dec. 4, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The AMC provided an opportunity for collegiate students and DoD maintenance professionals to showcase their abilities and see how they measure up against their peers across the country. (Courtesy photo by Freddy Roblez)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Four members of the 97th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS) recently found success competing against 10 opposing teams in an Aerospace Maintenance Competition (AMC), garnering first place and breaking two national records in the process.

“The safety wire record was broken by Josh Ellison,” said Freddy Roblez, KC-46 production superintendent assigned to the 97th AMXS. “Also, Mike Brown broke the record for oil analysis.”

Josh Ellison, Kayle Croft, Mike Brown and Freddy Roblez from the 97th AMXS, traveled to the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah for the Aerospace Maintenance Competition Dec. 4, 2017.

“It was really a shock,” said Ellison. “When we went up there, we were just excited to go. Then they told us we won the thing, so we were pretty pumped.”

Three-member teams competed in maintenance events intended to test skills and knowledge required of defense maintenance technicians.

“All the events were based on the theory of hydraulics,” Roblez said.

The AMC provided an opportunity for collegiate students and DoD maintenance professionals to showcase their abilities and see how they measure up against their peers across the country. The competition was broken up into two categories; collegiate and DoD.

 “We beat the second place military team by 10 minutes and the first place college team by 10 minutes,” said Brown.

“We were split into military and collegiate [categories], and they didn’t come close to us in either. I guess that’s just how good we are,” added Croft.

The members of the 97th AMXS were the only civilian competitors in the DoD category of the contest. 

“We were the only team there that had no military background,” Brown said. “This competition gets us back out there since the [Air Mobility Command] Rodeo is no longer held. This [competition] was the first one that had a dedicated military category. It was nice to go out there and have a little rivalry. We met some people, had a good time, talked a little talk in-between rounds and ended up doing pretty well.” 

The team enjoyed the competition and looks forward to possibly competing in the national AMC in Orlando, Florida next year, further maximizing their skills and pushing themselves.

“It was an awesome opportunity,” Croft said. “We were able to get a few guys together to go do something that none of us had ever really done before. [The AMC] pushed us to do things we didn’t know we could do.”