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Building a better team

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Autumn Vogt)

2nd Lt. Mercedes Young, 49th Component Maintenance Squadron accessories officer in charge, poses for a picture on the flight line, Jan 16, 2020, on Key West Naval Air Station, Fla. Young focused on learning what the crew chiefs do during the temporary duty to expand her knowledge as a maintenance officer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Autumn Vogt)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Autumn Vogt)

Three F-16 Vipers on the flightline, Jan 15, 2020, on Key West Naval Air Station, Fla. There were approximately 180 Airmen and 16 F-16 fighter jets transported to Key West from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. to allow the basic course pilots in the 311th Fighter Squadron to complete dissimilar air combat training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Autumn Vogt)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Autumn Vogt)

2nd Lt. Mercedes Young, (middle) 49th Component Maintenance Squadron accessories officer in charge, watches two crew chiefs from the 311th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Jan. 15, 2020, on Key West Naval Air Station, Fla. Young watched the crew chiefs prepare to change a brake on an F-16 to learn more about what flightline maintenance entails. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Autumn Vogt)

KEY WEST NAVAL AIR STATION, Fla. --

Temporary deployments or temporary duties allow Airmen to travel somewhere new for a period of time to complete a portion of the Air Force mission. The duties on a TDY are similar to what they would do home station, but located in a new environment allows them to hone in on their skillset and branch out to further develop.

For 2nd Lt. Mercedes Young, 49th Component Maintenance Squadron accessories officer in charge, the TDY to Key West Naval Air Station, Florida, with the 311th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, allowed her to learn more about a different aspect of maintenance and equip her to be the best officer she can.

“This TDY is important to me because as a lieutenant it is my time to learn,” said Young. “I have been working in the back shops since October 2018, and since I have not worked on the flightline at all, I do not know what flightline maintenance consists of. It is important to see what the crew chiefs do out there; how they get their hands dirty and work on the jets.”

Learning the different aspects of the maintenance career field enables Young to lead her Airmen with a degree of understanding.

“My full focus is on the crew chiefs and learning what they do,” said Young. “This will help me become a better aircraft maintenance unit officer in charge, maintenance operations officer, and maintenance officer in general.”

While understanding what her Airmen do on the job, Young also prioritizes learning about her Airmen as individuals.

“Besides seeing and understanding their job, talking to them outside of work will help me better understand them as a person, we are all human,” said Young. “I actually fell in love with maintenance because it’s like a big family.”

Young enjoyed being permitted to go TDY with the squadron because it allowed her to build relationships with the Airmen around her and to focus on expanding her individual expertise.

“Our vision demands that our squadrons be highly capable, expeditionary teams who can successfully defend our Nation’s interest in both today’s and tomorrow’s complex operating environments,” said General Dave Goldfein, United States Air Force chief of staff. “We will succeed only when our squadrons are the cohesive, ready, and agile fighting forces that the Air Force, Combatant Commanders, and the Nation requires.”

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