Adjusting to change isn’t always easy. This move to Vegas is very different to South Dakota. My new unit runs things very different and how they treat me is completely different that what I expected and how I was treated while I was 34th, back shop, 37th (All 28 MXG units). (Yes, I put in them in order based in how well I was treated and accepted.)
First big change is obviously the climate. The temperature has not dropped below 85 during the day and 76 during the night. I was surprised that it’s rained a decent amount since I have been here. When it rains, it causes a lot of flooding.
Second big change is the way people drive here. I am amazed by the lack of law enforcement on the roads and enforcing speed limits. I go the speed limit and folks with Nevada plates completely fly past me or the ride my ass to the point that I can’t even see their headlights in my side mirrors. The majority also do not utilize turn signals and will cut you off with no advance warning if they desire to be your lane and ahead of you.
The third big change has been my job. I expected to be ignored and treated like I’m worthless until I prove my worth.
Back shop treated me like that at the beginning. Once they got to know me a little bit, I was ignored until we got more airmen in the shop. At that point, I was constantly gossiped about. I felt like I was never going to be enough or get ahead. I felt like that place was a black hole.
So at that point, I volunteered to deploy and I went with the 37th.
The 37th has some of the worst people I have ever met in my life and I have never been treated that poorly before. I was constantly judged and my personal life was discussed and gossiped about behind my back. I had a SrA (now a SSgt) tell me to my face that he doesn’t think females should be allowed to work on the flight line. (Hopefully now that he has the additional stripe, he has matured some and let go of some of his sexist views.) I had spineless supervision. I was doing all the “bitch work” and then some while my fellow engine troops slept on the truck. I fucking hated being deployed with them and was so glad to get away from the majority of them. Sadly, it is the select few that bring down that AMU.
The 34th had heard the rumors about me. They also knew that the majority of them were not true. They gave me a chance. Well, most of them did. The rest of them just ignored me. I was perfectly okay with that. I’d rather be ignored then gossiped about and picked on. I deployed with them too. It was much smoother minus a couple hiccups. There’s a horrible NCO over there and when I brought it to the leadership’s attention, it took a few months for them to realize that I was telling the truth and to take me serious. Once that smoothed over, I liked working for them. I feel respected and trusted. I would have been happy finishing out my contract with them.
My new unit is the Viper AMU for the 57th AMXS. I’ve been working for them for a short bit, and it’s completely different that what I expected it to be. My report times for my shift are dependent on the flying schedule. The engines don’t break as much as the B-1’s engines did. Engine removals are more complicated. I could go on and and on about those differences. I am so happy that I work with some really kind men. I am the only female so far for the engine troops. I don’t mind. The guys I work with haven’t shown any sexism. They have treated me with respect since Day 1. They didn’t ignore or avoid me. They asked some basic questions. Once I showed a lot of initiative to learn, they were more than happy to hand me the tools and teach me.
I’m grateful. I’ve had a rough go of the military since I’ve been in. I feel like I have been used, abused and cast to the side without a second thought. This place feels different. I feel like my coworkers would care if something was wrong. I feel respected. I feel like I am treated like a competent adult.
This is how the maintainer side of the Air Force should be.