JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
The U.S. Air Force offers Airmen unique opportunities to apply their skills during their time of service through temporary duties.
On Feb. 5, 2018, Airman 1st Class Craig Boudreau, a vehicle maintainer with the 673d Logistics Readiness Squadron, was handpicked to travel with an extended-reach deicer from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to Gangneung Airbase, Republic of Korea, in support of Vice President of the United States Michael Pence’s visit to the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.
The standard 1800 de-icer available at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, was incapable of reaching the tail height of the Boeing C-32, call sign “Air Force 2”. An extended-reach de-icer had to be there in the case of inclement weather.
“Because of the nature of this mission, I was notified of my departure with less than 24hours to prepare.” Boudreau said. “I was confident, though. I knew if something were to happen to the ER de-icer, I could take care of it.”
Almost immediately after Boudreau arrived at JBER more than two and a half years ago, he started proving himself valuable as a vehicle maintainer as well as an Airman, according to many of his coworkers in the flightline maintenance shop.
“From the beginning of his time here, he wanted to learn about the de-icers, and he seemed to pick up it up pretty easily,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brian Willis, a 673d Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintainer. “The sergeants around him noticed his desire. We paved the way for him to be mentored by the most knowledgeable mechanic before he changed duty stations.”
As a result of motivation and hard work, Boudreau became the main mechanic for all of the ER and 1800 de-icers, ultimately opening up this unique chance for him to go on this particular TDY.
“Airman 1st Class Boudreau has made himself one of our most knowledgeable mechanics in the time he’s been with us,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kevin Sanchez, 673d Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management section chief. “We knew he would be a huge asset to help reconfigure the ER de-icer once they landed. Due to his expertise, he was able to overcome obstacles with the system and fix problems that arose.”
Boudreau was able to experience traveling to a foreign land for the first time as well as know how his role and efforts contributed to the success of the mission.
“Before I joined I wanted to be a firefighter; my plan was to use my time of service as a resume-builder,” Boudreau said. “Even though I’m not sure exactly what the next move in my career is, I realize that I would have never experienced something like this if I hadn’t joined the Air Force. Not everyone gets to support a Vice Presidential visit to Olympic Games. I feel very fortunate. It showed me that when you work hard, it gets noticed.”