U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Roscoe Tamondong is a production superintendent with the 305 Maintenance Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. He is part of a team of seven senior non-commissioned officers who manage 489 technicians, who perform maintenance on 20 KC-10, 14 C-17 and 8 KC-46, aircraft valued at $11.6 billion
The 305th Air Mobility Wing responds to many world events and was in the news often during the noncombative evacuation of Afghanistan. The 305th Operations Group deploys from America's Eastern Gateway to perform aerial refueling and airlifts, in support of tactical, strategic, reconnaissance, transport and bombardment forces in high-threat and chemical warfare environments.
Although Tamondong himself likes working on aircraft, his job is making sure the technicians are prepared. He stresses the importance of licensures and formal education not only for their missions now but for later, whether they continue in military or join the civilian sector.
“It is extremely rewarding to help prepare them for the next chapter in their life and to aid in ensuring they receive credit for their maintenance experience by gearing them towards federal certifications licensures and ratings,” he said.
Tamondong helped develop airframe and powerplant certification programs through the Joint Service Aviation Maintenance Technician Certification Council (JSAMTCC). He and his teams set up the programs at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and inspired other bases to create their own programs.
His collaboration with industry partners also paved the way for military members to become certified through the National Center for Aircraft Technician Training Aircraft Electronics Technician Course.
While helping others, Tamondong continues to further his own education. This past year he was selected to attend the Air Force’s Advanced Team Chief Crash-Damaged, Disabled Aircraft Recovery (CDDAR) Course. Upon graduation, he was nominated to return as active duty’s first and sole instructor for the Joint-Service School.
He also brought the Aircraft Battle Damage Evaluator course to the joint base. This certification enables aircraft maintenance technicians to repair weapon systems and return the aircraft from a forward operating area to a safe designated maintenance repair facility.
While serving oversees for 13 years, Tamondong observed that in other countries maintaining military aircraft requires being an officer.
“You have to have some sort of engineering or STEM degree,” he said. That’s in contrast to U.S. military, he said, where (informally) they say it takes a college education to break it and a high school education to fix it.
Nonetheless, those who serve under Tamondong have learned and appreciate that education is important.
Tamondong enlisted into the Air Force in 2007. He has performed aircraft maintenance during his entire career in the service. Concurrently, he was an independent contractor in the civilian sector. This time included seven years at Empire Aircraft Services Incorporated (EASI) as a transient alert maintainer, and at one point, the EASI's director of aircraft maintenance training at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Medals he has received include: Department of Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters and Air Force Achievement Medal.