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Cold weather won't stop his flight

PEORIA, Ill. -- It's early in the morning and the sun is shining. That doesn't matter to  the resilient crew chief standing outside on the tarmac and visually inspecting a C-130 Hercules. He will tell you the sunshine doesn't really help when it's five degrees Fahrenheit and a stiff wind is blowing. Weather is just a factor, and not a deterrent on this day to his mission to support the preparation for flight.

Master Sgt. Thomas Drummond,182nd Airlift Wing, is the crew chief on this cold morning. Drummond explains everything he does during a pre-flight inspection and he doesn't complain about the weather. He's focused on his job.
 
"The crew chief is in charge of the plane when it is not flying; when it is on the ground, it belong to us" Drummond said. "We claim the plane as ours.  It's our baby. We're in charge of inspections, all the paperwork.  We do all the general maintenance." 

Master Sgt. Thomas Drummond pulls chocks in near zero temperatures prior to an aircraft launch on the morning of March 6, 2015. Drummond is a C-130H3 Hercules crew chief in the 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria, Ill. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Todd Pendleton)(Released) Master Sgt. Thomas Drummond pulls chocks in near zero temperatures prior to an aircraft launch on the morning of March 6, 2015. Drummond is a C-130H3 Hercules crew chief in the 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria, Ill. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Todd Pendleton)(Released) With a mobile heater running to keep aircraft engines warm, Master Sgt. Thomas Drummond wraps up a communication cord at the conclusion of his pre-flight external inspection on the morning of March 6, 2015. Drummond is a C-130H3 Hercules crew chief in the 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria, Ill. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Todd Pendleton)(Released)

Drummond's role as a crew chief differs slightly from other crew chiefs in the Air Force, as he is a traditional guardsman with the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, Ill. He isn't assigned a dedicated aircraft as active guard and reserve (AGR) and full-time technicians are. Instead, he responds to any available aircraft that needs the attention of a crew chief in order to launch a mission.  

Growing up on a farm near Cordova, Ill., Drummond compares farming to what he does in the Air National Guard. Operating and performing maintenance on farm tractors, paved the way for being to being a 'jack of all trades' requirements of crew chiefs  in the realm of aircraft maintenance, stated Drummond.

"We're constantly updating the aircraft to keep it relevant with technology, and there's always maintenance that needs be done", Drummond said. "You're always behind the eight-ball.  There's always something to do." 

Rest assured, whether it is cold or not, Drummond is ready and willing to do what is necessary to keep 182nd Airlift Wing C-130s flying.



Photos and story by Tech. Sgt. Todd Pendleton. Video by Tech. Sgt. Rudolph Deiss III.