Merrimam-Webster Dictionary defines exhaustion as the act or process of exhausting, the state of being exhausted. Unfortunately, it’s a daily way of life for me. I have severe issues with the one of the things that every human is born knowing how to do. Sleep. Most days I get between 4-6 hours but some days, I don’t even sleep. My body is so worn out that I’m so excited to crawl into bed with Matthew, but as soon as I do, my brain becomes fully awake and just wants to think. I think about my to-do list, all the stuff that happened at work today and what my turnover will probably be tomorrow. I think about concepts that make me curious and the constant rain showers that plague Guam.
There are some days where I get off work so late that there isn’t a conceivable possibility to get 8-10 hours of sleep. Those are usually the days that I work a “twelve” hour shift, but because I am a maintainer, I’m lucky if I get off at my 13-14 hour mark. An eight hour shift is rarely that, especially since we are deployed. All the personnel that are on my truck have to be ready to go home before we are free to go. For maintainers to be able to go home for the day, tools have to be turned in to support, the log book detailing what you accomplished for the day has to be filled out, all maintenance actions that were done to the jet must be annotated in the aircraft forms and the online database called cams. It’s time consuming but a necessary piece to keep these jets in the air safely.
Yesterday, a B-52 lost a engine. The plane physically lost an engine. That’s really bad and thankfully the crew landed the plane and themselves safely. The news reported that the dropped engine landed in a wildlife refuge. I’m curious on what caused it. It could be an error on the side of maintainers or something could have castrophically failed.I’m hoping its the latter. Mistakes that cost in my line of work could easily land us a one way ticket to behind bars. Our job is stressful, physically demanding, mentally exhausting and rarely rewarding.
Maintainers really are one of the most overworked and under appreciated career fields in the Air Force. One of my favorite examples illustrating this, no one remembers the aircraft mechanics in Star Wars. We work on the flight line, rain or shine, and the 24 hours of every day are split into shifts.
I’ve been doing it for four years and I’m just exhausted.