OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The mission of the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) is to produce safe and reliable aircraft to maintain combat-ready pilots who are ready to ‘fight tonight’. Over the past 36 months, three crew chiefs assigned to the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit have earned the prestigious Thomas N. Barnes Award (Crew Chief of the Year) at the Pacific Air Forces level.
The Airmen responsible for maintaining the winning streak are Staff Sgt. Peyton Purcell, 2019 winner, Tech. Sgt. Jose Corral DeLeon, 2020 winner and Staff Sgt. Armando Sutton, 2021 winner.
Crew chiefs fulfill a vital role of the maintenance force by ensuring aircraft are airworthy and mission-ready so pilots are able to complete their missions.
“Man, I don’t think I’ve seen harder working individuals,” said 2nd Lt. Benjamin Waters, 36th AMU assistant officer-in-charge. “When it comes to work ethic, these three Airmen are the golden standard. It’s cool to see how their work ethic rubs off on the people working with them. It’s a contagious attribute and it is evident they are the source of the 36th hard work mentality.”
Waters, who was not assigned to Osan Air Base when Corral DeLeon and Purcell earned the award, however he was present for Sutton’s tenure as the award recipient. When Sutton won the annual award, he felt extremely proud to be a Fiend.
“I was honestly honored when I found out I had won this award,” said Tech. Sgt. Jose Corral DeLeon, 36th AMU cannibalization manager. “I know I wouldn’t have gotten it if it wasn’t for my fellow 7-level teammates at the time. We were always pushing each other to become better. Winning this award meant that I did my job to the best of my abilities. I set high standards for myself and my fellow peers didn’t let me fall short.”
The 36th AMU is responsible for directing all production efforts of maintenance personnel assigned to the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft and equipment. They also coordinate with the 36th Fighter Squadron to maximize pilot training, maintain aircraft fleet health and execute an annual flying hour program.
“I was shocked and happy when I won the award, but also a bit embarrassed because I’m not a fan of the spotlight,” said Sutton. “The reason I believe I won this award is because the flight chiefs I have now and had previously know my potential and capabilities. They once told me it’s time to stop being a background character and step into the spotlight. After they told me that I worked harder to progress into taking on more responsibilities and roles within my unit.”
Both Corral DeLeon and Sutton expressed their gratitude to those around them for pushing them to be their best and credits earning the award to their teammates. Purcell, who has since had a Permanent Change of Station from Osan, had a few words of appreciation to add as well.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate my fellow peers and very good friends of mine on achieving such accomplishments,” said Purcell. “The people of the 36th AMU made the assignment the best assignment I’ve had so far, no doubt. Each and every maintainer I worked with impacted my career tremendously. I have no doubt the 36th will continue to conquer and win future awards.”
All three Airmen ended their messages of gratitude with a booming “HARRUMPH”!
“I feel the reason the 36th AMU has sustained excellence is because we don’t let mediocracy maintenance pass,” said Corral DeLeon. “We hold ourselves and the Airman we teach to a very high standard. The fact that the 36th has held this title for 36 months just proves the maintainers produced here at Osan are top tier.”