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Remember The Maintainers

Remember the Maintainers

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Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. . . . — Colossians 3:23

I have always appreciated a good mechanic. Whether it was for our own vehicles or those vehicles used in the military—the fact that reliable maintenance is necessary to perform the mission was never lost on me.

So when my husband and I meet maintainers, we express our appreciation for their expertise and dedication. After all, nothing happens without them. While recently reading Battlefields and Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan, I found a statement from a military leader who agrees with the significance of those who keep the equipment working. He included these words in his “Top Ten Quotes on Leadership,” a devotional which draws from his experience as a commander of a National Guard unit when stationed in Iraq: “The center of gravity in peacetime is operations but the center of gravity in war is aviation maintenance.’ It takes ten to fifteen hours of maintenance to fly one hour in a Black Hawk. We put the emphasis in supporting our maintenance guys. They kept us flying. We were able to fly twice the missions with half the helicopters in the first six months than the active duty element flew the entire year before us.” — Colonel Bradley Macnealy, p. 385

Obviously very proud of his unit, we should all be very proud of any maintainers who serve in any capacity in the military. Recently we had a Christmas gathering of military members in our home, and one of those attending was a crew chief from an Air Force fighter squadron serving nearby. It had been a long, cold day on the flightline and he was tired. But when he stopped to read this poem which is displayed in our hallway, he seemed to be encouraged:

“Remembering the Forgotten Mechanic”

“Through the history of world aviation
many names have come to the fore—
Great deeds of the past in our memory will last,
as they’re joined by more and more—

When man first started his labor in his quest to conquer the sky
he was designer, mechanic and pilot,
and he built a machine that would fly—
But somehow the order got twisted,
and then in the public’s eye
the only man that could be seen
was the man who knew how to fly—
The pilot was everyone’s hero.
He was brave, he was bold, he was grand,
as he stood by his battered old biplane
with his goggles and helmet in hand—
To be sure, these pilots all earned it,
to fly you have to have guts—
And they blazed their names in the hall of fame
on wings with bailing wire struts—

But for each of these flying heros
there were thousands of little reknown,
and these were the men who worked on the planes
but kept their feet on the ground—
We all know the name of Lindbergh,
and we’ve read of his flight to fame—
But think, if you can, of his maintenance man,
can you remember his name?

And think of our wartime heroes, Gabreski,
Jabara, and Scott—
Can you tell me the names of their crew chiefs?
A thousand to one you cannot—

Now pilots are highly trained people,
and wings are not easily won—
But without the work of the maintenance man
our pilots would march with a gun—
So when you see mighty jet aircraft
as they mark their way through the air;
the grease-stained man with the wrench in his hand
is the man who put them there—”

Author unknown (some accounts credit authorship to Lt. Joe Seward)

So whether you serve as one who maintains equipment for land, air, or sea operations—what you are doing for the cause of freedom around the world is absolutely necessary. We thank you for your service to our country. . . .and will pray for you to continue in your vital role in this global war on terror. Whether you are packing chutes, adjusting gauges, working in the boiler room, keeping a network up and running . . . . lives are at stake in what you do. And Scripture reminds us of this most important part—our work is for our Lord. When we demonstrate excellence in what we do with the skills He has given us, it brings glory to Him:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” — 1 Corinthians 10:13

And, of course, we can never forget those who maintain the home during deployment—those are the real heroes!

Work Cited:

Cook, Jane Hampton, Jocelyn Green and John Croushorn, Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan (Chattanooga: God & Country Press, 2009)

Questions to Share:

1. Take the time to express appreciation to each other for the jobs you are both doing during deployment.

2. Pray for each other to perform your tasks for the Lord, thanking Him for gifting you with strength for the tough times.

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