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Hydraulics specialist performs as one man shop

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cierra Presentado
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
With the amount of combat missions the F-16 Fighting Falcons fly here daily, there are times when the landing gear needs servicing. One Airman deployed here is responsible for repairing all things hydraulics on those F-16s to ensure the aircraft are kept in flying status to support the mission.

Staff Sgt. Jesus Rodriguez-Cruz, 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron aircraft hydraulics specialist deployed from Aviano Air Base, Italy, is a one man shop. He is responsible for repairing hydraulics parts for the landing gear on the F-16.

“I receive the brakes and I inspect them and make sure they are good to go. If need be, I order parts to replace the bad ones,” Rodriguez-Cruz said. “When I do receive a new part, I reassemble it and then test it so it can go back into the supply system so it can get reused on an aircraft. Hydraulics deals with a lot of the critical movements of the aircraft so the majority of my jobs pertain to the landing gear.”

At home station, the hydraulics shop is normally manned by a tea but here Rodriguez-Cruz is operating by himself on a daily basis.

“There are good things about being a one man shop. I know my work schedule every day and I manage my work load. This definitely has improved my time management skills,” he said. “I’m also the sole responder anytime a line needs to get checked. I don’t mind being the only one.”

Along with being the only Airman in his shop, Rodriguez-Cruz also manages 11 programs.

“Managing all 11 programs in the back shop and being a one man team can be challenging at times. It’s a bit difficult to track all of the deviations. I usually have to rely on another shop to be a second eye for all my programs,” he said. “The workload and constant changes I make with my programs definitely makes the time go by fast, I try to stay busy.”

While operating as his own team, Rodriguez-Cruz is no stranger to his squadron. The entire team from Aviano deployed to BAF together, including the F-16 pilots and crew members.

“Rodriguez may operate by himself, but he is a great member in our squadron,” said Chief MSgt. Douglas Ente, 455 EMXS superintendent. “His work ethic is really great. You can tell he loves what he does and he puts forth his best efforts in all that he does.”
Rodriguez expressed how much he loves his job and working with his hands to preform different repairs.

“I love doing hands-on things, it helps me perform faster. The little things like assembling a hose is some of the things I enjoy. I’m glad to be here to make sure the parts are serviceable and safe for the aircraft,” he said. “This position definitely has an impact on the mission; we need someone here to make sure these parts are good.

If something that isn’t serviceable gets put on the aircraft then we have a big problem. So, it’s pretty important to the mission to have that person here to make sure those mistake don’t happen; I’m proud to be that person.”

Rodriguez-Cruz will continue to support BAF and the 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron for the duration of their deployment here.